Cong MLAs court arrest again outside Badal's home

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Chandigarh, May 29 (UNI) Punjab Congressmen led by Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, were today arrested while marching towards official residence of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal in violation of the prohibitory orders clamped in the area.

Over 40 MLAs, including Mrs Bhattal, two party MPS Rana Gurjit Singh and Dharmpal Sabbherwal and former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chiefs H S Hanspal and Shamsher Singh Dullo were those taken to Sector-17 police station from where they were released after two hours by the duty magistrate, without registration of any case against them.

Earlier, on May 24, the state Congress leaders had courted mass arrest in protest against the alleged high handedness, misuse of official machinery, intimidation of rival candidates and bungling by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) during the recently held Amritsar (South) assembly bypolls and Zila Parishad, Block Samiti and Panchayat Samiti polls.

Today, the slogan-shouting Congress MLAs, leaders and activists after holding a general meeting at Punjab Pradesh Congress headquarters here, had proceeded to the CM's residence and tried to break the barricades erected near the residence.

After her release from the police station today, Mrs Bhattal told reporters that the Congress would continue its ''crusade against the SAD-BJP misrule.'' Strongly criticising the manner in which the Zila Parishad and Samiti polls were conducted in the state, she appealed to the State Election Commission that entire polls held recently, should be nullified and fresh elections should be held to ''re-establish people's faith in the election process''.

The PPCC chief announced that the Congress will launch a state-wide movement against the Badal government and major rallies would be held at five places next month including at Moga (June 5) Mohali (June 7), Muktasar (June 10) and Ludhiana (June 17).

The date for the rally at Tarn Taran would be announced later, she said.

Today, also MLA and former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and MLAs Razia Sultana and Gurpreet Singh Kangad did not participate in the protest.

UNI XC JN JS1849

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