Chandigarh, Dec 8: The country’s oldest serving Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, turned 89 years old on Thursday. Despite his age, Badal accepted greetings from his family members and close aides and was all set to address a big rally of the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Punjab government in Moga district later in the day.
Born on December 8, 1927, at Abul Khura village near Malout in southwest Punjab, Badal has been Chief Minister five times — 1970-71, 1977-1980, 1997-2002, 2007-2012 and 2012 onwards. He has been in power in Punjab continuously since March 2007. He was briefly a Union minister in 1977 in the Morarji Desai government.
Hailing from a simple agricultural background, Badal forayed into politics by getting elected as a sarpanch (village headman) in 1947, the year the country won its Independence.
He was first elected to the Punjab assembly in 1957 on a Congress party ticket. After leaving the Congress soon after, Badal ended up opposing the Congress policies and governments.
Well-known for his witty one-liners and memory of people and events, Badal, who was conferred the Padma Vibhushan — the country’s second-highest civilian honour — in 2015 by the Modi government, has domited Punjab’s political and Sikh religious affairs in nearly 70 years of public life. (IANS)