Punjab declares holiday on April 27; PM Modi to pay last respects to Parkash Singh Badal

The SAD patriarch's mortal remains will be taken to his native village Badal in Muktsar at 12 noon via Rajpura, Patiala, Sangrur, Barnala, Rampura Phul and Bathinda.
Parkash Singh Badal (File photo| PTI)
Parkash Singh Badal (File photo| PTI)

CHANDIGARH: People started queuing up at the SAD office here since early morning on Wednesday to pay their last respects to Parkash Singh Badal while the Punjab government declared a holiday on Thursday in honour of the five-time Punjab chief minister who died on Tuesday aged 95.

All government offices, departments, boards, corporations and educational institutions in the state will remain shut on Thursday, according to an official order.

According to sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reach Chandigarh at 12 noon to pay his last respects to Parkash Singh Badal.

Badal had not been keeping well for some time and was admitted to the Fortis Hospital in Mohali near here over a week ago after he complained of uneasiness in breathing.

He died on Tuesday and his mortal remains have been kept at the Shiromani Akali Dal head office here for people to pay their tributes to the departed soul.

The SAD patriarch's mortal remains will be taken to his native village Badal in Muktsar at 12 noon via Rajpura, Patiala, Sangrur, Barnala, Rampura Phul and Bathinda.

The cremation will take place at 1 pm on Thursday, a party leader said.

The central government has already announced two days of state mourning on April 26 and 27 across India as a mark of respect to the former Punjab chief minister.

President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Modi, several central ministers and the Punjab and Haryana chief ministers and leaders cutting across party lines condoled Badal's demise and hailed his immense contributions to the state as well as the country.

The grand old man of Punjab politics first became chief minister in 1970, heading a coalition government that did not complete its term.

He was also the chief minister in 1977-80, 1997-2002, 2007-12 and 2012-2017.

Born on December 8, 1927, in Abul Khurana near Malout, Badal graduated from Forman Christian College in Lahore.

His first political posts were the sarpanch of Badal village and the chairman of the block samiti.

He entered the state assembly from Malout in 1957 as the Congress nominee.

In 1969, he won the Gidderbaha assembly seat on the SAD ticket.

When Gurnam Singh, the then chief minister, defected to the Congress in 1970, the SAD regrouped and formed the government with the support of the Jana Sangh.

Badal then became the youngest chief minister in the country, even if the coalition government lasted just a little more than a year.

In 2017, when he ended his last stint as chief minister, he was among the oldest to have held that post.

Badal was re-elected in the 1972 elections, but as the SAD could not form a government, he became the leader of the Opposition.

He was chief minister for 15 months in 1970-71 and for 32 months in 1977-1980.

During the 1977 elections, he again won from the Gidderbaha constituency and became the chief minister of the SAD-Janata Party government.

He was again elected to the state assembly in June 1980 and September 1985 elections from the Gidderbaha assembly constituency.

Badal, after shifting to the Lambi constituency, was elected legislator in 1997 and became the chief minister on February 12 that year as the leader of the SAD-BJP government.

During this tenure, his government took the decision of providing free electricity and waiving land revenue for farmers. Badal was re-elected from Lambi seat in 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017.

In 1967, he lost the Gidderbaha seat to Congress' Harcharan Singh Brar by a margin of just 57 votes.

This was his first electoral loss. The second came last year when lost to AAP candidate Gurmeet Singh Khuddian.

PM Modi to reach Chandigarh to pay last respects to Parkash Singh Badal

PM Modi will reach Chandigarh on Wednesday to pay his last respects to former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal/

Prime Minister Modi will reach Chandigarh at 12 noon to pay his last respects to Parkash Singh Badal, sources said.

Modi had on Tuesday described the demise of Badal as a "personal loss" and said he was a colossal figure of Indian politics who contributed greatly to the nation.

"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," Modi said in a tweet.

Badal worked tirelessly for the progress of Punjab and anchored the state through critical times, the prime minister said.

"Parkash Singh Badal's passing away is a personal loss for me. I have interacted closely with him for many decades and learnt so much from him," Modi had said.

"I recall our numerous conversations, in which his wisdom was always clearly seen. Condolences to his family and countless admirers," he added.

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