Extending an olive branch to Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh and Congress Legislative Party leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Parkash Singh Badal has invited the two opposition leaders at his swearing in as Punjab chief minister on March 14 at Chappar Chiri in SAS Nagar.
Badal's gesture comes after months of bitter wrangling between the state's two principal rival parties in the run-up to the assembly elections.
SAD sources said Badal would not only speak to the senior Congress leaders on phone, but also send formal invitations to both, urging them to forget the traditional political rivalry and be part of the swearing-in ceremony.
Badal is set to become chief minister for the record fifth time after the SAD-BJP combine won 68 seats in the 117-member assembly, defeating the Congress by a comfortable margin and defying the state's electoral history by retaining power.
In the letters that are being sent to Amarinder and Bhattal, Badal has said that he would like to make a fresh start with the Congress on this historic occasion and have more cordial relations with it.
"Let's forget the past and start afresh on a clean slate as the prime agenda of both political parties (SAD and Congress) is welfare and development of the state. Let's not keep any ill-feelings against each other as service of mankind is supreme than harbouring ill-feelings against each other," Badal said in the communiqués.
In Punjab's volatile political history, winning political parties rarely send out such clear signals of reconciliation to the opposition.