Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal passes away at 95

Former Punjab chief minister and the patriarch of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Parkash Singh Badal died at the age of 95 on Tuesday, April 25th, in Mohali.

Parkash Singh Badal

Parkash Singh Badal

Parkash Singh Badal, the five-time chief minister of Punjab and the patriarch of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), died at 8pm on Tuesday, April 25th 2023, at Mohali. Badal was 95 and was undergoing treatment at the Fortis Hospital in Mohali after he complained of uneasiness while breathing.

Badal started his political career as a village chief in the 1950s, and contested the assembly elections for the first time in 1957, when he was 30. In March 1970, he became the youngest chief minister of Punjab at the age of 43. He also became the oldest chief minister of Punjab when he was sworn in for his last term in 2012.

Between 1972 and 1977, Badal was the leader of the opposition in the Punjab Assembly. He was incarcerated during the National Emergency former prime minister Indira Gandhi declared. Soon after the emergency, Badal became the Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare from March to June 1977 in Morarji Desai’s government.

His second term as chief minister of Punjab began in June 1977 and ended with a President’s Rule in the state in February 1980. He was a vocal critic of Ms Gandhi’s military operation codenamed ‘Operation Blue Star’, which was launched in 1984 to flush out Damdami Taksal leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and his followers from the Golden Temple of Amritsar, the holiest Sikh shrine.

Badal’s (SAD) became one of the first allies of the far-right, ultra-nationalist, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after the latter’s formation in April 1982. The SAD and the BJP formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which has ruled India five times and is currently the ruling dispensation.

He became Punjab’s chief minister for the third term in 1997 and remained in the position until 2002. He became the chief minister for the fourth and fifth time after the SAD-BJP coalition won the assembly elections in 2007 and 2012 respectively. His son Sukhbir Singh Badal succeeded him as the leader of the SAD in 2008.

Badal’s SAD quit the NDA after opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s three contentious agriculture laws, against which farmers of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand protested at Indian capital New Delhi’s borders for over a year. Badal had returned his Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India awarded to him in 2015, protesting Modi’s farm laws.

The SAD allied with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) for the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections and lost the battle. Sukhbir’s party now ranks third in the state after the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Indian National Congress (INC) with just three legislators. During Badal’s last tenure, Sukhbir was accused of graft and running several businesses worth millions of dollars.

Prime Minister Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, INC leader Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi expressed their condolences over Badal’s death. Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann from AAP has also expressed his grief over Badal’s death.

Leave a comment
scroll to top