Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday paid glowing tributes to eminent scribe Kuldip Nayyar who passed away in New Delhi on Wednesday night.

“Punjab has lost a great son who always strove to highlight its cause in the national perspective,” said Badal. In his tribute, the former CM described Mr Nayyar as “the most daring secular democrat and one of the greatest journalists India has ever produced”.

Badal recalled his long association with Nayyar during the Emergency days and later during various Akali agitations and said that the Shiromani Akali Dal always benefitted by his secular advice in critical issue.

“Nayyar had a tall national and international presence but when it came to Punjab, he was passionately committed to the spirit of composite culture which the state symbolises,” he said.

Badal said that if Nayyar’s advice to Mrs Indira Gandhi against Operation Bluestar had been heeded to, Punjab and the country would have been spared the profound tragedy of 1984 and also saved from nearly two decades of fratricidal bloodshed.

Badal also recalled Nayyar’s “deep commitment to friendly Indo-Pak ties and his passionate advocacy of opening the Wagha border for trade between the two countries which he believed could transform the economic landscape of Punjab on both sides of the fence.”

In his message of condolences, the SAD president Sukhbir said that Nayyar was the most fearless champion of secular values and deeply committed to peace and communal harmony in the country, especially in Punjab.

“Since my early youth, I had been observing how deeply committed Nayyar was to secular and democratic values in the country, He was one of the few journalists to win the hearts of the common masses by championing their cause,” he said.