My residence is no palace, everyone is welcome: Badal

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Chandigarh, May 24 (UNI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today strongly condemned the ''symbolic action'' of the UT administration of detaining Congress legislators who were staging a protest outside his official residence here this morning.

In a statement here, Mr Badal described the UT action as ''totally unnecessary'', especially after the Punjab government had officially conveyed to them that the Congress legislators were welcome to move even inside the CM's residence as 'good democratic guests.' ''My residence is no Maharaja's palace. It represents the poor men's hopes and dreams. Everybody is welcome here,'' said Mr Badal in a statement here.

Mr Badal said that he could ''understand the frustration generated in the minds of the Congress leaders in the wake of their humiliating defeat in each and every election since February 2007''.

''But, I will defend their right to give this frustration any peaceful expression. I have fought for democracy and human rights and battled against repression all my life and that is why I had thrown my doors open to my agitating rivals,'' Mr Badal said.

He added that his Media Advisor Harcharan Bains had extended ''all hospitality to the few Congressmen who came to my residence led by the Leader of the Opposition Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal this morning.'' Mr Badal said that he would officially convey to the UT administration his ''disapproval of and unhappiness over even their symbolic action'' .

About Mrs Bhatthal's statement that she would come again on May 29, Mr Badal said they are welcome any moment. If they think the issue is urgent, they should come at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Mr Bains said that Congressmen actually burnt ''the effigy of democracy'' this morning.

Addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister's residence, Mr Bains said that the CM had been ''pained at the manner in which our Congress friends turned down our Punjabi hospitality.'' Mr Bains said that the Congressmen did not clarify any of their demands and confined their visit to mere slogan shouting and the 'gimmick of burning an effigy of democracy.

''They very well knew in the heart of their hearts that no government other than Mr Badal's has ever treated its rivals with such grace and dignity. It is sad that our guests were not equal to it, '' Mr Bains said.

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