Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal passed away at 95 on Tuesday at a private hospital in Mohali. The former Chief Minister of Punjab was suffering from breathing-related issues and had been hospitalised for a few days. Badal was admitted to the Fortis Hospital in Mohali over a week ago after he complained of uneasiness in breathing. He breathed his last around 8 pm, hospital officials told PTI. Badal was in the intensive care unit of the hospital where doctors had been closely monitoring his health condition. Sources in the party confirmed that the senior leader has died. Badal is survived by son and SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal and daughter Parneet Kaur.
Born on December 8, 1927 in Abul Khurana near Malout, Badal graduated from the Forman Christian College, Lahore. His political journey began in 1947 when he became the ‘Sarpanch’ (village head) of Badal village, then in Bathinda district. Thereafter, he became the chairman of the block samiti.
He became an MLA for the first time in 1957 when he was elected to the Punjab assembly from Malout constituency as a Congress member. He then moved to the Gidderbaha assembly seat from where he was elected as an MLA on a SAD ticket during the 1969 mid-term poll.
When Gurnam Singh, the then chief minister, defected to the Congress, the SAD members regrouped themselves overnight and chose Badal as their leader on March 27, 1970 and formed a government with the support of the Jan Sangh.
But owing to constant squabbles and infighting, he advised the governor on June 13, 1971 to dissolve the Assembly. Badal was re-elected in the 1972 elections, but as the SAD could not form a government, he became the leader of the Opposition. Badal 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. His government passed the Punjab Women and Children Development and Welfare Corporation Bill, 1979 to ensure development of women and children in the state.
He was again elected to the state assembly in June 1980 and September 1985 elections from Gidderbaha assembly constituency. Badal courted arrest during the Operation Bluestar in June 1984 when the Army had entered the Golden Temple complex at Amritsar to flush out militants.
He refused to become the deputy chief minister under Surjit Singh Barnala after the 1985 elections and later quit the party as the rift widened. In 1986, Badal formed Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal).
Badal after shifting to 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.
In 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.
The grand old man of Punjab politics has not been keeping well for the past few years. He was hospitalised in June last year following complaints related to gastritis and bronchial asthma.
Before that, in February 2022, he was taken to a private hospital in Mohali for a post-Covid health examination during which he underwent cardiac and pulmonary check-ups. He had tested positive for COVID-19 in January last year and was admitted to a hospital in Ludhiana.
The Fortis Hospital in its bulletin issued on Tuesday evening said, “S Parkash Singh Badal, Former Chief Minister of Punjab, was admitted at Fortis Hospital Mohali on 16th April 2023 with acute exacerbation of bronchial asthma. He was shifted to the medical ICU on 18th April as his respiratory condition worsened.” “He had been on NIV (non-invasive ventilation) and HFNC (high-flow nasal cannula) support along with medical management. He was being managed under Prof (Dr) Digambar Behera along with the Pulmonology and critical care team supported by Cardiology,” it said. Hospital sources said his health condition suddenly deteriorated during the day on Tuesday.