Chandigarh: A day after Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal celebrated his 87th birthday, becoming the oldest serving chief minister in the country, Congress leader Amarinder Singh Tuesday claimed he was much older and asked him to step down.
"It is high time for him (Badal) to quit as he had grown too old to govern the state now," said Amarinder, the deputy leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha, while extending birthday greetings to the octogenarian Shiromani Akali Dal leader.
Questioning Badal's claims that he was 87 years old, Amarinder claimed: "He (Badal) was the classmate, in FC College, Lahore, of my brother Malwinder Singh's father-in-law, Sukhinderpal Singh Mann, who passed away recently at the age of 93.
"How come Sardar Mann was 93 and Mr Badal is only 87 when they were in the same class?" he asked, while pointing out that Badal's age would be recorded in his matriculation certificate and the records in FC College also.
Taking a dig at Badal's claims that he had forgotten his actual date of birth, Amarinder said: "This again is characteristic of Mr Badal to avoid any inconvenient question by either feigning ignorance or claiming to have forgotten. A chief minister who cannot remember his birth date does not deserve to be at the helm of affairs."
Referring to Badal's recent comments of having a federal structure in the country, Amarinder chided Badal "for raising the bogey of federalism and panthic-agenda at the fag-end of his political career.
"This is characteristic of Mr Badal to raise such controversial issues whenever he feels politically threatened," he alleged.
"Even after spending over six decades in politics, Badal had not been able to come out of his mindset that was fixated in the past by over 50 years. These are his cherished pastimes to brood over federalism, panthic agenda, industrial focal points, Adarsh schools and Sangat Darshan," Amarinder said, adding that this was responsible for the mess that Punjab finds itself now in.
Badal, who became chief minister of Punjab for the first time in 1970, has been chief minister of the state five times (1970-71, 1977-1980, 1997-2002, 2007-2012, 2012-to date)