Deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal was unanimously re-elected as the president of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for a second consecutive term at the delegate session of the party at the Golden Temple complex here on Tuesday.
Sukhbir's name was proposed by senior party vice-president Ranjit Singh Brahampura and seconded by secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
With no other candidate's name cropping up, party general secretary Daljit Singh Cheema declared Sukhbir elected amid shouting of 'Bole so nihal, Sat Sri Akal' by the delegates, which included chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
This will be Sukhbir's second stint as party chief. He had taken over the reins of the party from his father in January 2008.
Sukhbir thanked the party delegates for having imposed faith in his leadership. He gave the credit for his success in the last five years to the chief minister, whom he described as an "institution" and the "guiding force" of the party.
(Elated supporters greet Sukhbir Badal by presenting 'Siropas' in Amritsar. Munish Byala/HT)
"There was much talk in the last five years of my becoming the chief minister. Had this happened, I would not have been able to deliver the kind of leadership that the party needed," he said while giving due credit to all the senior leaders of the party and also the workers, whom he described as the force behind the success of the SAD in the last five years.
Once again reminding the delegates that the SAD would rule Punjab for the next 25 years, Sukhbir said, "The Congress, too, has begun to believe in this. I say this because only Badal sahib, with all his experience has the qualities of head and heart to feel the pulse of the people and understand their problems."
Pointing out that the SAD had won all the (electoral) battles in the last five years, he said this was because of the commitment and dedication of the party workers.
(SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar congratulate Sukhbir on being re-elected as SAD president. Munish Byala/HT)
While pointing out that the SAD represented the feelings and aspirations of all Punjabis, he said that in the coming years the party would expand its base. He pointed out that the party would put up its candidates in the assembly polls in Delhi and Haryana and even move to Uttar Pradesh.
He took a dig at state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa and advised him "not to feed people on factually incorrect statements and lies as his predecessor Capt Amarinder Singh had done".
Badal re-elected patron
Parkash Singh Badal was unanimously re-elected the patron of the SAD for a second successive term. His name was proposed by party general secretary and MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder.
Party hails Badals
Prior to the election process, the SAD leadership placed on record the party's appreciation of the leadership provided by Sukhbir. The delegate session praised Sukhbir for spearheading changes in administrative structure and development processes. The party also described Badal as "the tallest statesman in the country today".