Chandigarh:The iron lady of Punjab politics Rajinder Kaur Bhattal is the first and so far only female to hold the office of Chief Minister, Punjab.
Born on September 30, 1945 to Hira Singh Bhattal and Harnam Kaur, Rajinder Kaur was married to Lal Singh Sidhu of Changli Wala village in Lehragaga.
Bhattal became the first female Chief Minister of Punjab after the-then Chief Minister Harcharan Singh Brar, tendered his resignation. Bhattal took over as president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee in May 1997.
In January 2004, Bhattal was made Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab. She also took credit for successfully pressuring the administration of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to introduce a debt waiver scheme for farmers.
In 1997 Vidhan Sabha elections, Bhattal (51,769 votes) defeated SAD’s Garja Singh (41,039 votes). She was elected from here for the third consecutive time in 2002 when Bhattal gathered 43,579 votes defeated Naranjan Singh, a SAD candidate who received 28,071 votes.
It was a neck and neck contest in 2007, when Bhattal defeated Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, a SAD candidate, with a margin of just 248 votes. Bhattal got 47,515 while Chandumajra received 47,267 votes. Naranjan Singh, an independent candidate who had contested on SAD ticket in 2002, was the second runners-up.
In a triangular contest among Congress, SAD and People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) in 2012, Bhattal yet again managed to retain the seat beating her rivals. She received 44,706 votes while SAD’s Sukhwant Singh got 41,351 votes. Bhagwant Mann, a PPP candidate, emerged as the third main contender in this election, who managed 26,136 votes.