Chandigarh, October 11: Everyone in Punjab should pray that Fakhr-e-Qaum Panth Rattan and fifth time Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, nearing 90, lives for many more decades. He has already created a record for being five time chief minister of Punjab.
Despite this record, he played emotive card successively for the third time two days back seeking another term in the Assembly from Lambi constituency saying it would add ten years more to his life. There is nothing wrong with this appeal as he is still to realise his dream of transforming Punjab into California that he sold to the people way back in 1996. His dream is still to take off and hence he is fully justified in seeking two terms more. He has now the big advantage of his dynamic son Sukhbir Singh Badal helping him in realising the big dream.
Bhagat Singh was only 23 when he went to the gallows shouting the slogan ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ along with his associates Rajguru and Sukhdev. By that time, he had made enormous contribution at the level of revolutionary philosophy. Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh would continue to inspire generations to come. His contribution as revolutionary thinker at such a small age is incomparable. He left his footprints on pages of history.
Ever since Manpreet Singh Badal launched his People’s Party of Punjab after resigning as the finance minister from Khatkar Kalan, it has become a fashion for non-Akali and non-Congress younger political activists to project themselves as followers of the Shaheed-e-Azam by donning yellow turbans, the colour considered to be associated sacrifice. However, this is confined only to optics. The colour of Bhagat Singh’s turban used to be white. He was a Marxist philosopher-activist. Aam Aadmi Party went to the extent of raising the slogan of Inqilab Zindabad without going into the content of this slogan. AAP has nothing to do with the revolutionary doctrine of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. But the issue here is not that of discussing his philosophy but having carved out a place in history at the age of 23.
It is Badal who once again is being projected as the face of the Akali Dal when 60 per cent of the voters fall under the category of young voters. The Akali Dal-BJP alliance is facing cumulative tsunami of anti-incumbency of 10 years. BJP had virtually no role to lay in the running of the government all this time and functioned merely as a junior partner enjoying the fruits of power with zero contribution or responsibility.
Badal has been projected as the face but he himself is seeking re-election not on the basis of his performance but making an emotive appeal to the voters who have been electing him continuously since 1997. Earlier he used to contest from neighbouriong Gidderbaha, the constituency from where he put up his nephew Manpreet Singh in the bye-election in 1995 as he himself did not want to take any risk under the then prevailing situation when Beant Singh headed the Congress government. The Akali Dal had boycotted the 1992 election facilitating installation of the Congress government.
Over the years, the people are getting awakened to the fact that development is not a favour done to them by their elected representatives. They are not elected to loot them. Development and governance are the laid down responsibilities of the government. The people have a right to safe drinking water. They have a right to have good roads, health and education facilities.
Political parties have been playing the so called development card for the last about two decades but in the process, they over the fact that they are supposed to serve the people and not befool them in the name of higher development. Providing drinking water to a tribal village in not a favour in this so called biggest democracy in the world but it is the right of the people. It is this development that is also the source for the elected representatives to make big bucks by way of commission.
There is no reason as to why the cities in this once the post progressive state should continue to have dimpled roads.
This is the question that should be put to Parkash Singh Badal when he seeks votes pleading that it would add ten more years to his life. The basic issue is the legacy that one leaves behind, of making history, not just creating record.