Fri. Jun 21st, 2024

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Parkash Singh Badal, a five-time former chief minister of Punjab and Akali Dal patriarch, died at a private hospital in Mohali on Tuesday. He was 95.

“Despite appropriate medical management S Parkash Singh Badal succumbed to his illness. Fortis Hospital Mohali deeply condoles the death of S Parkash Singh Badal,” a statement from the hospital said.

The Punjab leader died at around 8 pm, hospital Director Abhijeet Singh told news agency PTI.

The former chief minister was admitted to Fortis Hospital in Mohali a week ago after he complained of uneasiness while breathing.

The veteran leader climbed his way up the political ladder, serving as a village sarpanch, before he contested assembly elections for the first time in 1957, when he was 30 years old, as a Congressman.

Parkash Singh Badal was the youngest Chief Minister to ever hold office in the state of Punjab. He was 43.

In a career spanning over seven decades, he lost only two elections – one in 1967, and the latest in the 2022 Punjab assembly election. The loss was particularly acute as he lost his stronghold Lambi, which he fronted for several decades.

He courted arrest during Operation Bluestar in June 1984 when the Army had entered the Golden Temple complex at Amritsar to flush out militants.

His party broke off ties with the BJP over the farmers’ agitation against the Centre new agricultural laws in 2020. Parkash Singh Badal returned his Padma Vibhushan award – the second highest civilian honour of the country that he received from the government in 2015 – in protest against the treatment of the protesting farmers by the Central government. 

The Akali Dal leader vehemently opposed the idea of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, meant to share river water with neighbouring Haryana. 

Under his leadership, the state assembly passed the controversial Punjab Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal (Transfer of Proprietary Rights) Bill, 2016.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the tributes to the Punjab leader, calling him a “colossal figure of Indian politics, and a remarkable statesman”. 

“Extremely saddened by the passing away of Shri Parkash Singh Badal Ji. He was a colossal figure of Indian politics, and a remarkable statesman who contributed greatly to our nation. He worked tirelessly for the progress of Punjab and anchored the state through critical times,” tweeted PM Modi, along with a picture of himself with the veteran leader.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh termed the veteran leader’s death a “personal loss”.  

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge expressed his deepest condolences to Badal’s family.

“Although we differed in our ideologies, he earned immense respect among the people of Punjab for his simplicity and loyalty to his cadre, as he served multiple terms as CM,” tweeted Mr Kharge.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “I express my deepest condolences to all his bereaved family members and supporters, including Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal.” 

Parkash Singh Badal was born in Punjab’s Abul Khurana close to the Rajasthan border and studied at Lahore’s Forman Christian College. 



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