A Poised And Determined Leader —Kamal Sharma Political Advisor, Chief Minister, Punjab
Even at this age, he is a calm and composed person. I have never seen him losing his temper throughout his career. He interacts with so many people including an uneducated villager and senior IAS officers. He is very disciplined and punctual and we have to be very fast to match his speed. Whenever he goes to attend a meeting or some gathering, every minister related to him is aware that he can also come earlier by fifteen minutes. He is so well-timed in spite of the fact that he never wears any watch and he doesn’t carry a mobile phone. He is always attentive and he keeps a check on his time. If he is already busy with a meeting, I don’t how he suddenly gets up with a start and says: We will discuss more issues later as I have to go to some other meeting.
Another area of expertise of Badal Saab is his commitment. He becomes so restless and impatient when he is not able to do something on time. I will cite an example. I went to Shimla with him once to sign an MoU between Himachal government and Punjab government. We reached in the morning to sign the MoU of Shri Anandpur Saheb and Shri Naina Devi ropeway. After that we had to go to Talwara by air but it started raining in Shimla. We were sitting in the hotel room and Dhumal Saab said that the information was that it is not possible to take a flight till 2:30. He asked us to rest there as we got free at about 12:30 PM. There was a programme in Talwara regarding an ambitious project for the development of semi-hilly area of Kandi in which many scientists and professors of international universities were involved.
But he decided to take the risk and we took the flight. We reached Talwara at 4:00 and went straight to the venue. Till 10:00 PM, he was interacting with the scientists and was not looking tired at all whereas we all were exhausted. This is his individuality which he has maintained for decades. He is 85 now. His political and social life proves this. I feel privileged to be with him as a political advisor.
In the past few years, demography has changed. Akalis were only limited to villages. But now they have made their impact in cities. They have nominated many Hindu candidates and many of them have won. I see this as a welcome change. If BJP workers feel that they aren’t getting expansion then I should say that every party has a right to expand but the party workers have to come out of their shell. Obviously, when you go for a coalition, there are certain restrictions. We fight for 23 seats and our priority are those seats and those are all urban seats. But whenever we go to villages, we get a good response. Although BJP fights for 23 seats but it has got presence in the whole Punjab. Both BJP and Akali Dal are anti-Congress parties. And ours is the trusted and tested coalition. There are certain points where our viewpoint doesn’t match but we have been together for long now. And now we understand each other. There have been times when there were divergent views but ultimately when we talk to Badal Saab, he comes out with a solution.
BHISHMAPITAMAH OF PUNJAB POLITICS—Irwin Khanna Editor, Uttam Hindu, Punjabi Daily
Parkash Singh Badal is the Bhishmapitamah of Punjab politics. It won’t be wrong to say that he is also the Chanakya and Vidur of Punjab politics. From 1947-1966, he had an active role in Punjabi Subba Movement (Division of states on the basis of language). From 1966-1980, he was active in Akali politics and during Emergency he was arrested for opposing it.
After 06-12-1992, when Babri Masjid was demolished, Parkash Singh Badal changed his political perception and he started giving prominence to minority Hindus in Punjab. Slowly and steadily he became successful in uniting all the communities and brought peace and social harmony in Punjab. He was instrumental in strengthening the economy of Punjab mainly through agricultural sector. Badal put on a brave face in maintaining peace and harmony in Punjab after becoming the Chief Minister despite Punjab being a border state. He is the tallest political leader and in fact there is no leader of his stature in any political party in Punjab.