Parkash Singh Badal, a pillar of the Shiromani Akali Dal, was cremated with full state honours on Thursday at his home Badal village in Sri Muktsar Sahib, Punjab. A sea of mourners, including prominent political figures who crossed party lines, paid their final respects to the five-time chief minister.
Along with his estranged cousin Manpreet Badal and other family members, including Badal’s granddaughters and grandsons, his son and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal lit the funeral pyre. A gun salute was given by a contingent of Punjab Police.
Earlier, the Akali stalwart’s mortal remains were transported from his home to the family’s farmland, a kilometre away, where it was kept for people to have the last “darshan,” on a specially designed tractor-trolley, amid chants of “Sardar Parkash Singh Badal amar rahe” (long live Sardar Parkash Singh Badal).
For the cremation, a two-acre kinnow orchard that is a part of the Badal family’s landholding was cleared.
In his more than 70-year political career, Badals’ final trip on a tractor-trolley was symbolic of his concern for and ties to the peasantry. He was shown as “Fakhr-e-Kaum (Pride of the community)” on the front of the tractor, a title given to him by Akal Takht in 2011. As “Darvesh siyasatdaan” (a gentleman politician), which he was frequently referred to as even by his opponents, was depicted in another painting. As the tram travelled to the cremation site, people showered it with flower petals.
People flocked to Badal’s home to pay respects before his mortal remains were transferred to the cremation site.
Visitors to the home who wanted to express their condolences might observe Sukhbir, his wife, and former union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal crying. Alongside the mortal remains, their son, two daughters, and another person stood. There were also Manpreet Badal, his children, and former minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
The Badal village was visited by BJP president J P Nadda, Union ministers Hardeep Puri and Som Parkash, senior party figures Ashwani Sharma and Tarun Chugh, NCP leader Sharad Pawar, Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, former Punjab deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and state Congress leader Amrinder Singh Raja Warring to pay their respects.