The veteran Akali politician, who had interacted with every Prime Minister of India from Jawaharlal Nehru to Narendra Modi during his political career, passed away on April 25, 2023. He had started his career as a village sarpanch.
He was admitted to a Mohali hospital on April 16 due to acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma and was shifted to the medical ICU as his respiratory condition worsened. A team of doctors, led by Dr Digambar Behera, declared him dead at approximately 8 pm.
The late politician had the unique achievement of serving as the youngest Chief Minister of Punjab at the age of 43 and as the oldest at the age of 89 before relinquishing his post in 2017.
He was also the oldest candidate to contest Vidhan Sabha elections in 2022 but lost from the Lambi constituency.
About Prakash Singh Badal
- Born on December 8, 1927, in Abul Khurana village, located near Malout in southwest Punjab.
- He graduated from Lahore’s Forman Christian College.
- Badal’s political career began in 1947. He served as the Sarpanch of the Village Badal and later as Chairman of Block Samiti, Lambi before entering Punjab politics.
- Parkash Singh Badal was elected to the Punjab state assembly for the first time in 1957 and had been re-elected for a total of 10 times in the Vidhan Sabha.
- Parkash Singh Badal was elected as the Chief Minister of Punjab five times and served in that capacity from 1970-1971, 1977-1980, 1997-2002, and 2007-2017 for two consecutive terms.
- Parkash Singh Badal, during his seven-decade-long political career, lost only two elections (1967 and 2022).
- During the 1970s, Parkash Singh Badal was imprisoned along with other politicians under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) during the emergency period in India.
- Parkash Singh Badal was a part of Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s government in 1977 and served as the Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation.
- He was arrested during Operation Bluestar in 1984 when the Indian Army entered the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.
- During his time as the Chief Minister of Punjab, Parkash Singh Badal initiated several welfare schemes, one of which was providing free electricity to the agricultural sector in 1997.
- On December 11, 2011, the Akal Takht honoured Badal with the title of “Panth Rattan Fakhr-e-Qaum,” which translates to “Jewel of the Religion, Pride of the Community.”
- In 2015, Parkash Singh Badal was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award.
- However, in December 2020, he returned the award to the government as a form of protest against the treatment of farmers who were protesting against new agricultural laws introduced by the Central government.
- Badal was a strong opponent of the proposed Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, which aimed to share river water with the neighbouring state of Haryana.
- In 2016, during his tenure, the Punjab state assembly passed the Punjab Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal (Transfer of Proprietary Rights) Bill, which was led by Badal.
- Parkash Singh Badal and his late wife Surinder Kaur had two children, a son named Sukhbir Singh Badal and a daughter named Preneet Kaur. Surinder Kaur passed away in 2011 due to an illness.
- Sukhbir Singh Badal is a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Fazilka constituency in Punjab and has also served as the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab. Parkash Singh Badal’s daughter is married to the son of former Punjab Chief Minister Pratap Singh Kairon.