(rpting with corrections in para two and seven)

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Patiala, May 18 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today dared the Congress leadership in the State to forward the resignation letters of its MLAs to the state Vidhan Sabha Speaker.

'' The sincerity of the Congress leadership will only be known if the resignations are forwarded to the Speaker'', he said while commenting the decision of the Congress MLAs to quit the Assembly in protest against the rigging of the just concluded Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti polls.

The resignation letters were forwarded to Punjab Congress chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal at Amritsar yesterday. The letters were yet to be forwared to the Speaker.

Talking to mediapersons at Rakhra village, Mr Badal said the cheap theatricals of the Congress was the outcome of the utter frustration of the party following its rout in the polls. In this context he refered to the Municipal Corporation elections last year and the Zila Parishad and Samiti polls.

The Panchayat Raj Instiution (PRI) elections would have a major bearing on the outcome of the next Lok Sabha elections in Punjab, he claimed.

''Stuntmanship is no substitute for statesmanship. The fact of the matter is that the Congress has suffered the most humiliating defeat in the history of Punjab and the party was completely at a loss to formulate a credible and honourable response to their debacle'', he added while predicting that the Congress would also be routed in the Amritsar South Assembly constituency where a by-election was being held.

Instead of humbly accepting the verdict of the people of Punjab, the Congress leadership was busy either levelling flimsy and baseless allegations or indulging in lowly showmanship, he said while again making a reference to the resignation of the opposition legislators.

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