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I can’t hug Badal every day, says Punjab Congress chief

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Newly-appointed Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa addressing a Press conference in Chandigarh on Wednesday.– PHOTO: Akhilesh Kumar
Newly-appointed Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa addressing a Press conference in Chandigarh on Wednesday.– PHOTO: Akhilesh Kumar

Alleging that the Prakash Singh Badal government was unleashing political vendetta, Punjab Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday said his party had launched a toll-free helpline to enable its activists to seek free legal aid to pursue “false cases” slapped on them.

“I can’t be hugging him (Chief Minister Badal) every morning. I have to oppose him. We can’t tolerate the vendetta unleashed on our workers,” he told reporters here.

On a pilot basis, a helpline had been launched from Amritsar from where the maximum number of “false cases” against the Congress workers had been reported, Mr Bajwa said.

“The party has hired the service of 25 lawyers for the purpose,” he said adding the facility would soon be extended to aggrieved workers in other parts of Punjab.

Meanwhile. talking to reporters in Fazilka, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said “the propaganda of the Congress on political vendetta has been fully exposed as the party has failed to produce a single case in this regard for the past six years.”

“Earlier, (former Chief Minister) Amarinder Singh kept on ranting about 50,000 vendetta cases against the Congress workers but failed to pinpoint a single one on the floor of the State Assembly”.

“Taking a leaf out of Amarinder’s book, the new PPCC president (Bajwa) is raking up the same issue to get a few sound bytes,” Sukhbir said.

Mr Bajwa attacked the SAD-BJP government saying the law and order had “worsened” in the State.

“Four Assistant Sub-Inspectors of Police have been killed during the past two months in various parts of Punjab,” he said.

“The police force stands totally demoralised and the Akalis are using it as their business partner to carry out activities like illegal mining,” Mr Bajwa said.

Denying factionalism in the State Congress, he said he had full support of Amarinder Singh and asked the media not to read too much into the latter skipping a public meeting in Patiala recently.

“Amarinder had told me he was busy in connection with the elections of Rifle Association of India contested by his son Ranninder,” he said.

On social activist Anna Hazare launching his “Jantantra Yatra” in Punjab recently, he said “I welcome it.”

The Punjab Congress head, however, advised the Gandhian not to remain silent on what he said misdeeds of the SAD-BJP government.

Mr Bajwa said his party was fully geared for the next Lok Sabha polls. “We will win more seats than last time,” he added. - PTI


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