BADAL(PUNJAB): Parkash Singh Badal was cremated on Thursday at his ancestral village in Punjab’s Muktsar district with thousands of mourners and leaders across the political spectrum paying their last respects to the Akali stalwart and five-time chief minister. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal lit the pyre at the funeral held with full state honours. Badal’s mortal remains were taken to the family’s farmland around a kilometer from the residence on a flower-decked tractor-trolley with his son Sukhbir Singh Badal and other family members standing with folded hands as the vehicle moved past mourners on the route.
PM Modi pays floral tributes to former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal
Leaders cutting across party lines, including BJP president J P Nadda, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, visited Badal village to pay their last respects. Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, senior BJP leader Tarun Chugh, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala, and former union minister Praful Patel paid homage to the former chief minister. Punjab Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann were also among the mourners. Former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Congress leader Deepender Hooda, Punjab BJP chief Ashwani Sharma, Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and former Punjab minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa also attended the last rites. Heavy security arrangements were made in the village. In the morning, the mortal remains of Badal were kept for the last ‘darshan’ at his residence. People in huge numbers queued up there pay tribute and express grief. Badals’s son Sukhbir Badal and daughter-in-law Harsimrat Kaur Badal could be seen in tears as people visited their residence to pay tribute. Their two daughters and a son also stood beside the mortal remains at their residence. Former finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal, Parkash Singh Badal’s estranged nephew and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia were also present among other leaders. 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.(With PTI inputs)