Leaders, commoners pay last respects to Badal at his ancestral village

Badal (Pb): NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Harjinder Singh Dhami were among those who paid their last respects to SAD patriarch Parkash Singh Badal here on Thursday.

The Akali stalwart will be cremated at the family’s agriculture land where a raised platform has been erected for performing the last rites.  Badal died on Tuesday at the age of 95.

The mortal remains of Badal were kept at his residence for the last ‘darshan’ with people in large numbers queuing up to pay tributes and express grief with the family.

Badals’s son Sukhbir Badal, his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal, their two daughters and a son stood besides the remains of the Akali stalwart at their residence.

He was put to rest around 1 pm.

Former Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, the estranged nephew of Parkash Singh Badal, and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia, were among those who paid their last respects to the Akali leader besides ex Union minister Praful Patel and BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa.

Condoling the former chief minister’s death, Sirsa said Badal was an institution in himself and with his death, an era has ended.

“Everything can be learnt from Sardar Parkash Singh Badal saab. Be it time management, issues related to the community and the state. We learnt a lot from Badal saab,” said Sirsa who left the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in 2021 to join the BJP.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several political leaders on Wednesday had paid floral tributes to Badal at the SAD office in Chandigarh where the mortal remains were kept for some time.

The mortal remains of Badal were brought to Badal village in Muktsar district on Wednesday night.

When the vehicle carrying Badal’s mortal remains headed to Badal village on Wednesday, party supporters and many common people stood along both sides of the highway to catch a glimpse of the leader.

The Punjab government and the Chandigarh administration have declared a public holiday on Thursday as a mark of respect to the former chief minister.

The grand old man of Punjab politics first became chief minister in 1970, heading a coalition government that did not complete its term. He served as chief minister in 1977-80, 1997-2002, 2007-12 and 2012-2017.