The ‘Mahila Maharati’ of Punjab politics- Harsimrat Kaur Badal and her life
Harsimrat Kaur Badal who is recognised for her powerful Parliamentary speeches is consistently at the forefront of efforts to improve the lives of the impoverished, particularly women.Author : Shagun
A strong minded and determined politician, Harsimrat Kaur Badal has served as Union Minister for Food Processing Industries in both first and second terms of the Narendra Modi government and as a Member of Parliament from Bathinda in the Lok Sabha. The unshakeable Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) minister is much known for her resignation from PM Modi’s cabinet in protest against the controversial agricultural laws which led to a nationwide protest in 2020.
Having a strong political background, the 55 years old politician is married to Sukhbir Singh Badal, president of SAD and son of former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Harsimrat Kaur, who is recognised for her powerful Parliamentary speeches, is consistently at the forefront of efforts to improve the lives of the impoverished, particularly women. Her
working style is unique and she has spearheaded numerous projects aimed towards the development of Punjab.
Let's take a look at her journey from being a textile designer to a commendable politician whose work is recognised on global levels.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal's political career began with the 2009 Indian general elections in which she contested on Shiromani Akali Dal’s ticket. She defeated Congress candidate,
Mr Rahender Singh, by a large margin, becoming the 15th Lok Sabha member from the Bathinda assembly constituency.
Harsimrat Kaur went on to win re-election to the Bathinda seat in the 2014 general elections and served as the Union Cabinet Minister for Food Processing in the Indian government.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha election, she was elected for the third time in a row from Bathinda. With approximately 21,000 votes, she defeated Congress candidate Amrinder Singh Raja Warring.
The unbeatable minister resigned from Narendra Modi's cabinet on September 17, 2020, in protest of the government's new farm bills. She agreed with her husbands claim that these “laws will destroy the 50 years of hard work done by successive Punjab governments to build the farm sector.” Following SAD’s “glorious legacy and its commitment to go to any extent to safeguard the interests of the farmers” Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from her position and said, “cannot be a party to anything anti-farmer.”
An empathetic social worker
Apart from being a great political leader, Harsimrat Kaur has been involved in social work. She discussed the general public's issues and found her way to provide assistance.
Harsimrat Badal showed her concern for the victims and survivors of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots in her first speech as well.
Harsimrat Kaur started the ‘Nanhi Chhan' project to combat the dropping women's sex ratio in Punjab and to save the trees. This project is a fight against female foeticide
and women's empowerment in the face of horrors in rural communities.
This campaign operated in schools, colleges, gurudwaras, temples, churches, panchayats and several municipal centres.
Nanhi Chhaan helps women across the state form self-help groups (SHGs), which raise awareness not only about female feticide but also about other problems such as cancer, agriculture,
farmer issues, environmental challenges, and the state's rapidly dwindling forest cover. The SHGs also assist the women in forming small companies and managing their savings more effectively.
Through this project, 75 sewing facilities have been established in Punjabi villages, where more than 1900 girls have been trained in cloth sewing, knit weaving, and flowering.
She also launched the "SAANJH" initiative, through which hundreds of textile training centres were opened and thousands of girls from rural Punjab were trained in traditional
embroidery art "Phulkari" and "Durry" making, allowing them to become financially self-sufficient.
A mindful business-woman
Being a mindful businessperson, Harsimrat Kaur Badal owns businesses in agriculture, media, and the hotel industry. Apart from being a textile designer, she also owns and runs a private
jewellery business in the Trident Hotel in Gurgaon.
Harsimrat Kaur Badal’s family and personal life
Born in the Sikh Majithia family on July 25, 1966, to Satyajit Singh Majithia and Sukumanjus Majithia, Harsimrat was raised in New Delhi. She studied textile design at the Loreto Convent
School in New Delhi and graduated with a bachelor's degree.
In 1991, she married into a family with strong political history. Harsimrat Kaur is the daughter-in-law of Punjab's former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the wife of SAD
President Sukhbir Singh Badal.
The couple together has two daughters and a son. Her brother, Bikram Singh Majithia is a Shiromani Akali Dal MLA representing the Majitha seat.