Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has become the first CM to receive the second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan.
Congress leaders have dismissed the decision to give the award to Badal as 'politically motivated'.
This is his fifth term as Chief Minister besides being a Union minister. He was the youngest person to become a Chief Minister in 1967 at 43, and is now the oldest serving Chief Minister at 87.
Award: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal inspects the parade during the Republic Day function at a government college in Mohali near Chandigarh. Badal has received the Padma Vibhushan award
Eyeing power in Punjab, the BJP has killed two birds with one stone. On the one hand, it has tried to please the minority Sikhs (majority in Punjab). On the other hand, it tried to return the favour which Badal showered on the BJP as a minority leader by supporting the party in 1996 after the Babri Masjid demolition.
“I owe this honour to countless of those selfless people who have always showered unquestioning love and trust on me in our shared quest for a better future for generations to come,” said an overwhelmed Badal after the award was announced.
Meanwhile, the Union Government’s decision to shower the Padma award on Badal has left the Opposition Congress fuming.
Congress spokesperson Sukhpal Singh Khaira said the Modi Government has not only politicised the prestigious award but has also ‘belittled and devalued’ it by giving it to a ‘tainted leader’.
“The BJP has indulged in cheap politicking to garner Sikh votes for the ensuing Delhi polls, besides devaluing the esteemed award.
"The Government by this foolish and politically motivated decision has also belittled a stalwart leader such as L.K. Advani and other deserving candidates from different walks of life,” said Khaira.
The Congress leader also accused Badal of indulging in anti-national activities either for self-glorification or under pressure from impending political crisis.
Khaira also reminded the BJP that Badal was a part of the delegation led by Simranjit Singh Mann to meet the then visiting UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on April 22, 1992, to demand a sovereign Sikh state.