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Badal family gainfully employed in public life!

india Updated: Aug 12, 2009 13:39 IST
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In these times of recession, when millions have lost their jobs, one family in Punjab seems to be gainfully employed in public life - with the exception of a sole member.

With Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal being re-inducted as deputy chief minister in his father and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's government Monday, the council of ministers and the ruling party are quite a family affair for the state's ruling political clan.

Except for Surinder Kaur, wife of Parkash Singh Badal and mother of Sukhbir Badal, all other members of the Badal family and their close relatives now hold public offices or are in public life.

While the father-son duo became the first case in India's political history in January this year to hold the top two positions in a government when Sukhbir was inducted as deputy chief minister for the first time, there are other close relatives to give them company too.

Badal senior's nephew, Manpreet Singh Badal, is Punjab's finance minister while son-in-law Adesh Pratap Singh Kairon is the state's food and supplies minister.

Another distant relative, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, is the state's irrigation minister.

Sukhbir Badal's wife, Harsimrat Kaur, recently entered public life after becoming a Lok Sabha MP from the Bathinda constituency in southwest Punjab.

Her brother and Sukhbir's brother-in-law, Bikram Singh Majithia, too is in public life as a legislator from the Majitha constituency near Amritsar. He was earlier a cabinet minister in the Badal government but quit the post in January this year to make way for Sukhbir's elevation into the government.

"It is unfortunate that when the state is going through a financial mess, the Badal family is clamouring for posts. They have turned the government and the party into a private corporation," Congress legislator from Nabha Randeep Singh told IANS.

"One has to see Punjab's interests. But in their case, vested interests (of the Badal family) are primary and the state's interests are secondary. People who have elected them are the sufferers," he added.

Even some ruling Akali Dal and alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are upset that the Badal family was only interested in 'dynastic politics' and was ignoring other senior leaders.

Akali leaders were particularly upset when Sukhbir's brother-in-law Majithia, a political upstart and first-time legislator, was made a full cabinet minister in the Badal government in March 2007.

"The Badals cannot see beyond their own family. There is no dearth of good leaders in the Akali Dal who can become ministers. Many of the present ministers are complete non-performers," an angry Akali Dal legislator told IANS requesting anonymity.

The BJP, which partners the Akali Dal government, too is upset with Badal that its demand for the post of deputy chief minister for one of its ministers has not been accepted.

"The ministers and legislators (from the Badal family) must be costing the state a fortune," said Ludhiana trader Amritpal Singh.