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Chautalas, Jakhar pay tribute to Parkash Singh Badal

Badal (Punjab), Mar 10 (PTI) INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala and the BJP's Sunil Jakhar on Sunday hailed former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal as a statesman as they remembered the Akali stalwart.

Badal (Punjab), Mar 10 (PTI) INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala, Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala and the BJP's Sunil Jakhar on Sunday hailed former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal as a statesman as they remembered the Akali stalwart.

Five-time Punjab chief minister Badal passed away on April 25 last year.

On the occasion, Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal gave a clarion call for 'panthic' and Punjabi unity to secure social, economic and political justice for the state.

Paying tribute to the former chief minister, Jakhar -- the BJP's Punjab unit chief, said, 'Badal sahab's humility was unparalleled.' Terming the Akali patriarch as a 'vikas purush', Jakhar said Badal was a true statesman who allied with the BJP after more than a decade of strife to usher in peace and communal harmony in the state.

'I salute this spirit,' said Jakhar, who also narrated how the former chief minister always stood for more powers for states and federalism.

Jakhar also claimed he learnt a lot from Badal.

Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader and former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala said, 'Badal sahab spent more than a decade in jail for the welfare of Punjabis.' 'He worked assiduously for farmers and the 'khet mazdoor (farm labourers)' and changed their lives for the better. We should all pledge to follow his principles and be ready to make every sacrifice to better the lot of our people,' he said.

Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala called Badal 'the Nelson Mandela of Punjab politics' while his Cabinet colleague Ranjit Singh termed the Akali stalwart 'a pious soul'.

Addressing the gathering, Badal's son Sukhbir Singh Badal said, 'It is impossible to become Badal sahab but, I assure you, I am ready to sacrifice everything for the 'quom' and Punjab like him.' Speaking about his father, Sukhbir Singh Badal added, 'Badal sahab was a nationalist, a true democrat and secular in his approach. He respected all religions and took everyone along before making a decision. He never acted vengefully against anyone, earning him the respect of his political opponents we well.' He also highlighted how Badal always remained among the people and took up social work after retiring from active politics.

Senior Akali leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee chief Harjinder Singh Dhami, among others, were present on occasion. PTI CHS SZM

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