Former Minister and SAD leader Balbir Singh passes away

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Jalandhar, Feb 14 (UNI) Former Punjab Minister and ex-MP Balbir Singh passed away here last night after a prolonged illness.

Mr Singh, 69, leaves behind his wife and son and daughter.

He had not been keeping well for quite sometime and yesterday morning when his condition worsened, he was admitted to a private hospital, where he breathed his last.

His last rites will be performed today at 1400 hrs at Model Town cremation ground.

Mr Singh hailing from Shankar village was the nephew of former Foreigh Minister, the late Swaran Singh and was the grandson of former SGPC president Partap Singh.

Under the guidance of Mr Swaran Singh, he became a member of the Congress and contested his first election in 1972 from Jalandhar Cantt assembly constituency. After his victory he was inducted into the Cabinet by the then Chief Minister, the late Giani Zail Singh. He remained the Health Minister of the state from 1972-1977.

He became a Rajya Sabha member from Punjab in 1987 and thereafter in 1999 he contested the Lok Sabha elections from the Jalandhar constituency and emerged victorious.

However after being denied the Congress ticket for the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, he quit the Congress and joined the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). He was inducted into the Working Committee of the party and also became a member of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party.

Since 1973, he has been the president of the Governing Council of the city-based Lyallpur Khalsa College. He also remained the patron of the Punjab NRI Sabha.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has condoled the death of Mr Singh and has expressed his heartfelt condolences with the bereaved family. SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal also condoled the death of his senior party colleague.

UNI DP-HS MMS1309

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