Harsimrat Badal: A powerful Punjab leader (Profile)

Written by: IANS
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Chandigarh, May 26: Harsimrat Kaur Badal, 47, has emerged as a powerful leader of Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in the last five years after she was first elected MP in 2009.

Wife of Punjab's powerful Deputy Chief Minister and Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and daughter-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Harsimrat has tried to carve her own space in politics and social work. She has been vociferous in Lok Sabha debates since 2009.

Born July 25, 1966, Harsimrat went to Delhi's Loreto Convent school and holds a degree in textile designing from Delhi University. Now a full time politician, she earlier worked as a merchandiser in a buying agency.

She comes from the Majithia family of Punjab which has business interests in distilleries and aviation. Her brother, Bikram Singh Majithia, is Punjab's revenue minister.

Before winning the Bathinda seat in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls when she defeated former chief minister Amarinder Singh's son Raninder Singh by 1.2 lakh votes, Harsimrat had led a quiet family life with her three children who study in New Delhi.

She is now associated with the vast business empire set up by her husband in the fields of hotels, media and agriculture. She runs a jewellery business in the upscale Trident Hotel in Gurgaon.

On the social front, she has been associated with the 'Nanhi Chhaan' Foundation which works for the rights of the girl child and women empowerment. Her other social activities include running a school for street children in Delhi's Vasant Kunj, supporting old age homes and sponsoring medical treatment for needy children.

Harsimrat won from Bathinda this time by a considerably reduced margin of about 20,000 votes against her husband's estranged first cousin and former Punjab finance minister Manpreet Badal.


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