Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal created
history on Tuesday to become the first party ever to retain power
in Punjab bucking the anti-incumbency factor with Parkash
Singh Badal, the grand old man of the state politics, and his
son Sukhbir Singh leading the charge.
And Parkash Singh Badal, who his party says is 84 while
his opponents put him on the wrong side of the nineties, will
have another feather on his pack as the warhorse could become
Chief Minister of the agrarian state for the fifth time.
Punjab was carved out of Haryana in 1966.
Soaking in the historic victory, the ageing SAD patron
maintained that the party`s core committee will take the
decision to choose its leader though Sukhbir said his father
will be the party`s chief ministerial candidate.
Apart from fighting incumbency, the SAD in alliance with
BJP also faced challenges after the party was accused of
corruption and nepotism before dashing the hopes of Congress`s
Amarinder Singh to come back to power.
If the SAD-BJP alliance decides to have Badal senior as
the Chief Minister, he would be in the post for the record
fifth time. He headed full two five-year terms from 1997 and
2007. His other terms were in 1977-1980 and 1970-71.
Badal Sr has given the credit for the alliance victory
to Sukhbir, who succeeded his father as party President in
January 2008 and became deputy Chief Minister a year later
making it the first case of a father and son sharing the two
top posts in the government.
Parkash Singh Badal had unilaterally in January 2009
announced that Sukhbir would become Deputy Chief Minister
taking the alliance partner BJP in the state by surprise. But
the veteran politician that Badal Senior is, he had taken the
senior leadership of the saffron party into confidence to make
it a smooth sailing for his only son.
Armed with an MBA degree from the USA, 50-year-old
Sukhbir had on January 31, 2008 become the youngest Akail Dal
leader to head the ruling SAD- -a party considered by most as
traditional and sticking to orthodox and conventional norms.