September 21, 2021 5:37:38 am
Till Sunday, residents of a sleepy Bhajauli village, the native place of Punjab’s new Chief Minister Charanjeet Singh Channi, did not know that their village will become another power centre in state politics. An announcement was made in the village gurdwara congratulating everyone after Channi reached the top post and the villagers were invited to join Channi’s family at his Kharar residence.
The villagers feel connected to Channi’s family and respect the family as Channi’s father changed the village by constructing internal roads in the village when he was elected sarpanch in 1970.
Some of the elders still remember that Harsa Singh’s win was memorable as he had defeated a candidate from the upper caste but even then he never let the villagers divide on the caste lines and kept development above everything.
Sixty-seven-year-old Harpal Singh, a retired tehsildar, has close ties with Channi’s family. He told The Indian Express that Channi’s father Harsa Singh was in Malaysia but in the late 60s he had returned to the village and started a shop for selling and repairing cycles at Kharar.
“He (Harsa Singh) also started a tent service in the mid-60s at Kharar. In 1970, he became sarpanch of the village and is known for carrying out developmental works. He was instrumental in making internal roads,” Harpal Singh added.
Speaking about Channi’s mother Ajmer Kaur, Harpal Singh said that she was a housewife and used to cut the grass from fields. “She was always upright. The entire village used to respect her and she always wanted her children to get a good education,” he said.
Channi’s younger brother is a doctor while his elder brother has retired as an engineer. Channi had studied up to fifth grade at his native village’s primary school which was later upgraded to a middle school with Channi’s efforts. Bhajauli’s sarpanch Sant Singh said that the entire area was proud of Channi as he had reached the top post from a modest background.
“It s not easy to go through the ups and downs of politics, but Channi always remained connected to his roots. Channi had built a community hall at the village at a cost of Rs 1 crore. The people who could not afford costly marriage palaces now hold their functions there,” Sant Singh added.
At the native house of Channi, his uncle was not available but his sister-in-law Daljeet Kaur was present and she told The Indian Express that she used to live in the house with her family now.
“Channi still used to visit us. Whenever there is any need, he helps us. Even Channi’s family had given their portion of the house to us,” she added.
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