A day after commenting that he was not willing to retire from politics, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday praised his son and deputy Sukhbir Badal saying the latter was a better administrator than him, again igniting speculations about his elevation to the top post.
In his speech on the concluding day of the NRI Sammelan, Badal termed Sukhbir as "a better administrator, hard worker and visionary".
"It's the dream of every man to see his son grow and prosper better than him. Like every proud father, I can now say that Sukhbir has more potential than me and can better serve the state," said Badal, who is currently serving his fifth term as chief minister.
Cheif minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal chatting during NRI Sammelan in Jalandhar on Saturday. Pardeep Pandit/HT
He said Sukhbir's spirit to serve Punjab was stronger than his and his ideas best suited the present-day politics of development.
Badal said, "In our days, the political scene of the state was different and it was a politics of struggle. In those times, a politician's success rate and his spirit to serve the state were gauzed from the number of days he spent in jail. Now, it's different. It's a politics of development now and Sukhbir knows it as his entire approach is development oriented."
Badal, who during the last year's NRI sammelan, had slammed NRI affairs minister Bikramjit Majithia, on Saturday praised him saying "Majithia da vi daur hun aaya hai (Majithia's time has finally come)," as he appreciated him for successfully organising the event.
The chief minister regretted that whenever the Akali Dal had raised its voice against the Centre, it was branded as a terrorist outfit. "But now, it's a matter of pride that the same party has ruled a sensitive state like Punjab better than the Congress. The SAD-BJP alliance in the state has emerged as the most secular ruler. All communities feel themselves to be a part of the alliance government and are secure," Badal told NRIs.
Cabinet minister Bhagat Chunni Lal, in his speech, twice referred to NRIs as 'NIRs', leaving the audience amused. However, he was quick to correct himself.
The organisers were embarrassed when a few NRI participants complained of not getting drinking water. As the media heard their complaint, officials were seen pacifying the agitated NRIs.
Referring to the New Zealand delegation's comment on the low attendance of women NRIs, the CM, while referring to SAD MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur as "Sava lakh di bibi" said they would hold an 'NRI bibiyan da sammelan' next year to ensure participation of women.
Taking a dig at Ramoowalia
The CM did not spare even former union minister Balwant Singh Ramoowalia saying, "Enhu satta vich rehan da bhot chaska hai. Pahlan jado asi satta vich nai see, eh Congress vich varh gaya, hun ghum ghuma ke pher tikane te aa gaya. (He is fond of remaining in power. Earlier, when we were not in power, he went to the Congress, and now he has made his way back)".