Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) stalwart Parkash Singh Badal, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 95, was cremated with full state honours at his ancestral village in Punjab’s Muktsar district on Thursday. Thousands of mourners and leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, across the political spectrum their final tributes to the five-time chief minister of Punjab.
SAD chief and Sukhbir Singh Badal lit the funeral pyre.
Badal’s mortal remains were taken to the family’s farmland, around a kilometre from his residence, on a flower-decked tractor-trolley with his son Sukhbir Singh Badal and other family members standing with folded hands as the vehicle moved past the mourners on the route. An emotional Sukhbir and his sister Parneet Kaur Kairon broke down before the body was consigned to flames.
Badal was admitted to a private hospital for nine days after being admitted there with breathing problems.
BJP president J P Nadda, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and National Conference’s Omar Abdullah visited Badal’s village to pay their last respects. Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann were also among the mourners.
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, senior BJP leader Tarun Chugh, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, and former union minister Praful Patel also paid homage to the former chief minister.
Former finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Parkash Singh Badal’s estranged nephew and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia were also present.
Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress leader Deepender Hooda, Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma, Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and former Punjab minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa also attended the last rites.
The mortal remains of Badal was kept for the “last” darshan for people, and Sukhbir Badal and his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal could be seen in tears as people visited their residence and offered them condolences.
Parkash Singh Badal: A five-time CM
Born on December 8, 1927 in Abul Khurana near Malout, the grand old man of Punjab politics first became chief minister in 1970, heading a coalition government that did not complete its term. He had served as chief minister in 1977-80, 1997-2002, 2007-12 and 2012-2017. He had received the country’s second-highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2015, which he returned in 2020 to protest against the controversial farm laws.
After taking care of SAD for 13 years since 1995, Parkash Badal handed over the reins of the SAD to son Sukhbir Singh Badal in 2008, who also became the Deputy Chief Minister under him.
Badal’s wife Surinder Kaur Badal died of cancer in 2011. They had two children – Sukhbir Singh Badal, the heir to his political legacy, and Parneet Kaur, who is married to former minister Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon. Sukhbir Badal’s wife is Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal.