Multi-tasking Sukhbir Badal keeps all on their toes (Punjab Newsletter)

By Jaideep Sarin, Chandigarh, Dec 13 : Meeting corporate czars, organising a big-ticket event attended by the who's who of Indian industry, campaigning in the Delhi election, taking on the Congress and hosting a kabaddi tournament - it has been a busy time for Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal in recent weeks, but he managed to keep all connected with the events on their toes.

Bureaucrats and officers, ministers, party leaders, sports administrators and coaches and many more put in their best - with multi-tasking Sukhbir Badal, 51, setting the pace.

Since October, he has been on a hyper-active mode, as a senior bureaucrat put it. He went to Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi to meet top industrialists like Cyrus Mistry, Keshub Mahindra, Mukesh Ambani, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, N.R. Narayana Murthy and others.

This week's line-up on the dais of the Progressive Punjab Investors Summit had the likes of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, steel tycoon Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, ITC chairman Y.C. Deveshwar, Hero Moto Corp's Sunil Kant Munjal, Biocon chairperson Shaw, Bharti Airtel's chairman Sunil Mittal, G.V.K. Reddy from GVK Group, DLF vice chairman Rajiv Singh and other leading industrialists attending the event.

A visibly happy Sukhbir Badal, who gave a power point presentation at the summit himself, later claimed that the industrial houses had committed to investing Rs.65,000 crore in Punjab.

Deveshwar pointed out in his summit speech that he and Mukesh Ambani, on seeing the junior Badal making the presentation himself, were discussing how a change was happening among younger leaders in the country.

Just as he was preparing to host these industry biggies in Mohali town, Sukhbir Badal was actively campaigning for candidates of Shiromani Akali Dal in the Delhi assembly elections. He also canvassed for alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates in Delhi constituencies which have a sizeable Sikh and Punjabi voters.

Just a week earlier, he was busy with organizing and attending the World Cup Kabaddi tournament across Punjab to promote the rural sport. Teams from 20 countries are participating in the event which generates a lot of excitement among people across Punjab.

Even as he was busy doing all these things, Sukhbir Badal was taking on the opposition Congress in the state as well and even ensuring that its senior leaders joined the ruling party.

At the same time, he had to deal with the 'jathedars' (leaders) of his own Akali Dal for state and local issues as he lords over the nearly 93-year-old party.

The jet-setting Sukhbir Badal, who is known to hop from one place to another using aircraft and helicopters, has been doing the micro-planning of all the events down to the minutest details, if those close to him are to be believed.

A successful billionaire businessman with interests in hotels, media, real estate and agriculture, he holds a masters degree in economics from Panjab University - the same department where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh studied and taught over five decades ago - and a business management degree from the California State University in Los Angeles.

With his firm grip over politics and governance in Punjab, SukhbirBadal seems to be in for a long innings.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

--IANS (Posted on 13-12-2013)

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