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Chandigarh, April 26 – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday reached Chandigarh to pay his last respects to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) patriarch and five-time Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who passed away at a private hospital in Mohali.
Modi had, on Tuesday, described the demise of Badal as a “personal loss” and said he was a colossal figure of Indian politics who contributed greatly to the nation.
“Extremely saddened by the passing away of Shri Parkash Singh Badal Ji. He was a colossal figure of Indian politics and a remarkable statesman who contributed greatly to our nation,” Modi said in a tweet.
Badal, the country’s oldest politician — next only to BJP veteran L.K. Advani — passed away on Tuesday at the age of 95 after a brief illness at a private hospital near here.
Throughout his political career, Badal, who had once compared Prime Minister Narendra Modi to former US President Abraham Lincoln, had always expressed “immense satisfaction and pride” over the strong and principled stand taken by his party “to save the beleaguered peasantry and the country”.
Badal, a founding member of the NDA, before parting ways in 2020 had always referred to SAD-BJP ties as ‘nau-maas da rishta’ (nail-and-flesh ties).
The mortal remains of Badal were brought to the party office here on Wednesday as scores of people and political leaders assembled to pay homage.
The state government has announced a public holiday on Thursday in honour of Badal, who will be cremated at his ancestral village Badal in Muktsar district on the same day.
A sea of people, comprising political leaders cutting across party lines and dignitaries, are expected to attend the cremation.
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government has declared national mourning on Wednesday and Thursday following Badal’s demise.
Badal also served as a Union Minister in the late 1970s.