Being in complete control over party affairs for 13 long years, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday witnessed the phenomenal rise of his 45 years-old son Sukhbir Singh Badal as members unanimously elected him as the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president for a five-year term.
The new order would see Badal senior, as the patron of SAD – made possible by creating an on-the-spot post. With party leaders falling in line into his scheme of things Badal also got the tenure of the party president extended from three years to five years. Stage secretary Dr Daljit Singh announced the development just before the meeting.
Since Wednesday evening Badal had worked hard to make sure that all prominent party leaders, including Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Jagdev Singh Talwandi, Balwinder Singh Bhunder and Gurdev Singh Badal, were involved in the process of nominating Sukhbir’s name for the party top slot. He was honoured with the Siropa (robe of honour) after the election process was over. A welcome address was also organized for the party’s new ‘boss’.
MP from Faridkot Sukhbir Badal, who led the party onslaught during the assembly polls, was rewarded by making him the acting president of the party following the SAD – BJP combine’s win and rumours were rife about his becoming the CM. Now, Sukbir’s chance to become the next chief minister appears not to be too far.
Delegates at Teja Singh Samundary Hall in the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) complex, where the election took place, saw Badal at his rhetoric best before choosing to step down as the party chief pleading that he could not continue with the dual responsibility. He appealed to the delegates to elect anyone of their choice as his successor. Except cabinet ministers Manpreet Badal and Adesh Partap Singh Kairon, both kins of Badal, prominent party leaders participated in the election.
GC Shekhar, Chennai
The trouble with being a prince in waiting is one tends to become a very old prince if the father simply refuses to pass on the mantle (ask Prince Charles). M.K. Stalin, son of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has found that out as he waits to take claim as party chief for more than a decade.
Karunanidhi, who has completed a very active 84 years, appears to be in no mood to share even a part of his chief ministerial or party presidential responsibility with Stalin, who at 55 continues to head the DMK’s youth wing.
Stalin, who served as an MLA and then as the Chennai Mayor was finally given the all encompassing portfolio of local administration in May 2006. Where the father could not be invited to preside over, Stalin would be the ‘automatic choice’, further confirming that he was the chosen successor.
So when the DMK for the first time organised a conference of its youth wing last December, many observers and party faithfuls, had hoped that Karunanidhi would finally anoint Stalin at least as Deputy Chief Minister. But the announcement never came through and the conference was staged to hype Stalin’s leadership qualities and thwart any challenge to his succession. Even as the Kumaraswamys and Navin Patnaiks, with little apprenticeship compared to Stalin, occupy the chief minister’s chair, Tamil Nadu’s Rising Son continues to hover interminably.
Karunanidhi, the dutiful father, though has put down anyone who had dared to disrupt Stalin’s future takeover. In the 90s Vaiko paid a heavy price for being openly ambitious and last year Dayanidhi Maran was sacrificed for eyeing the CM’s spot covertly. Whenever Stalin’s elder brother M.K. Azhagiri, who is virtually the party chieftain in half a dozen southern districts, revolted Appa would placate him.