Eighty five-year-old Shiromani Alkali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal today created two records in one go by becoming the chief minister of Punjab for the fifth time and the first in the reorganised state's history to return to power for the second successive tenure heading the SAD-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance ministry.
Badal was sworn in on Wednesday by Governor Shivraj V Patil as chief minister for a record fifth time after the party in alliance with BJP broke the 46-year old record of reorganized Punjab and became the first government to return to power for the second successive term.
The veteran Akali leader was sworn in as chief minister at Chapar Chiri Banda Bahadur Memorial in Ajitgarh district, about 25 km from Chandigarh, on Wednesday to surpass his earlier record of holding the post for the fourth time five years back.
Badal Senior headed full two five-year terms in 1997 and 2007. His other terms were between 1977-1980 and 1970-71.
Gopi Chand Bhargava and Partap Singh Kairon of the Congress had held the post thrice. Bhargava was Chief Minister in 1947, 1949 and 1964, while Kairon headed the regime in 1956, 1957 and 1962.
The SAD-BJP alliance got absolute majority in the 117-member state Assembly winning 68 (SAD-56, BJP 12) seats following the elections held on January 30 last.
The opposition Congress, which was aiming to form the government, failed to achieve the magical number of 59, winning only 46 seats - 13 short of the required numbers.
Badal won from his traditional Lambi seat defeating his cousin Mahesh Inder Singh Badal, who was put up by the opposition Congress. It was for the third time that two Badal's were against each other with Parkash Singh Badal repeatedly defeating his cousin. This time he also had his younger brother Gurdas as an opponent.
After the carving out of Haryana from Punjab in 1966, it is for the first time that a party has come back to power for the second time claiming it to be a result of the pro-incumbency wave, SAD Chief Sukhbir claimed.
This was due to the developmental agenda pursued by the alliance as against the Congress which concentrated on personal attacks, Sukhbir asserted.
SAD in alliance with BJP broke the 46-year-old record of reorganised Punjab and became the first government to come to power for the second successive term on the agenda of development and peace setting aside its traditional Panthic agenda.
In demand of the Panthic agenda Badal Senior also went to jail in the eighties and was part of many protests, including burning of copies of the Constitution in mid 80s during the "Dharam Yudh Morcha" of the Akali Dal.
During the campaigning for the recent assembly elections Badal, however, clarified that he was against burning of the copies of Article 25 (which included Sikhs among Hindus) of the Constitution in front of Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib, near the Parliament House in New Delhi.
He went there as part of the decision of the SAD then headed by Sant Harchand Singh Longowal, Badal clarified. The issues not taken up during the current election included SADs demands for the transfer of Chandigarh and of other Punjabi speaking areas and settlement of river water sharing disputes with neighbouring states including Haryana, besides its demand for a federal structure with more rights for the states.
Badal Senior, who is now Patron of SAD, has given the credit for the alliance's return to power to his son Sukhbir, who succeeded him as party president in January 2008 and became deputy chief minister a year later making it the first case of a father and son sharing the two top posts in the government.