Retired IAS officer Jasbir Singh Bir, known for his story of rising through ranks since his first posting as a daily-wage clerk, will be joining the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday.
Bir has already met top AAP leaders and his formal joining will see the party’s state in-charge Sanjay Singh and convener Sucha Singh Chottepur welcoming him.
Bir told HT that he had made up his mind to join AAP as it was an “emerging party that is different from conventional political parties and has a people-centric agenda”.
The 65-year-old former bureaucrat has not been assigned any role for now, but is expected to contest the assembly polls next year. An AAP leader said Bir will also guide the party in key decisions related to its functioning.
Known for his capabilities as a taskmaster, Bir has held key posts while in service and was also part of the personal staff of Giani Zail Singh, when the latter was the Punjab chief minister, in 1974. He was the secretary-general, administration, and Patiala divisional commissioner with additional charge of Faridkot and Ferozepur divisions.
Bir also remained the managing director (MD) of the Chandigarh industrial and tourism development corporation (CITCO) and was also municipal commissioner in Jalandhar and Amritsar. In fact, Bir’s term as Patiala deputy commissioner is still remembered by the city residents.
But Bir is known for taking on the influential (and now ruling) Badal family, over the issue of parking of buses owned by them and other private operators, in a market in SAS Nagar. It was this rift with the Badals that led him to seek premature retirement in April, 2010.
For many though, it is Bir’s life-story itself that tells a tale of his diligence. Bir, who belongs to Anandpur Sahib, would do odd jobs to earn a living before he landed a government job as a daily-wage clerk in the late sixties. Those days he would cycle down from Ropar to office in Chandigarh every day.
Later, as part of the ministerial staff in the civil secretariat, Bir was nominated into the Punjab civil services in 1976, and 16 years later, elevated to IAS cadre.