Parkash Singh Badal Death Live Updates: Badal along with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and current PM Narendra Modi (Express archive)
Sardar Parkash Singh Badal, 95, is no more. The five-time Chief Minister of Punjab, the towering man who strode like a colossus across the political landscape of the state for over seven decades, gently bowed out this evening. It’s the end of an era in Punjab politics. The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has lost its architect, and the state its great reconciler, a leader who believed in building bridges with disparate ideologies, to keep it on the path of peace.
Badal’s journey in politics started with that of independent India, when he was elected as a sarpanch at the age of 20. And it would go on to mirror that of Punjab itself — from the wars with Pakistan and the crackdown during Emergency, to the decade–long militancy in the 1980s, he weathered it all.
“Cast your vote for Modi. He has raised the stature of India in the world, he has returned ‘maan’ (respect) to the Sikhs, given justice to the victims of the 1984 riots.” In speech after speech in the run-up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Akali patriarch Parkash Singh Badal would invoke Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek votes for Akali Dal-BJP candidates
There was no denying his fondness for the PM, and the latter returned it in good measure, making it a point to touch Badal’s feet at public rallies. In 2016, when Badal was admitted to PGIMER, Chandigarh, with chest congestion, Modi took everyone by surprise when he landed at the hospital to spend half-an-hour with the ailing patriarch. Doctors said Badal perked up after seeing the PM.
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