Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal returns Padma Vibhushan awarded to him in 2015

The agitating farmers at Delhi’s Singhu border termed the move as a politically-motivated step to appease Punjab’s farmers who constitute the core vote bank of the SAD

Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)
Former Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal (Photo Courtesy: Social Media)
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Bipin Bhardwaj

Former Union minister and five-time Chief Minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday announced the return of the Padma Vibhushan awarded to him to protest against ‘betrayal of farmers’ by the Union government.

The Chief patron of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has written to President Ram Nath Kovind expressing his wish to return his Padma Vibhushan award to protest against the Centre’s new farm laws and in solidarity with farmers who have been protesting against them at Delhi’s borders. Badal had received the country’s second-highest civilian honour in 2015.

It may be recalled that the SAD had pulled out of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to protest against the farm laws. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, daughter-in-law of Parkash Singh Badal and wife of former Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, had also quit as Union Food Processing Minister over the issue.

Soon after the news of Badal returning the award hit the headlines, SAD (Democratic) chief and Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa also announced his decision to return his Padma Bhushan award which he received in 2019. He was presented the third highest civilian award by President Kovind last year for his contribution in the field of public affairs.

Senior BJP leaders from Punjab including Manoranjan Kalia and Master Mohan Lal have termed returning of the awards as unfortunate, while Punjab Congress committee president Sunil Jakhar said it was a welcome step.

The agitating farmers at Singhu border, however, termed Badal’s move as a politically-motivated step to appease Punjab’s farmers who constitute the core vote bank of the SAD.

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