"My residence is no Maharaja’s palace.Everyone is welcome here", says the CMChandigarh May 24 – The Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal today strongly condemned even the symbolic action of the UT administration against some Congress legislators who had come to his official residence in Chandigarh this morning.
In a statement, Mr. Badal described the UT action as totally unnecessary, especially after the Punjab government had officially conveyed it 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. I had specially deputed my Media Advisor, Mr. Harcharan Bains, who enjoys the rank of a minister, to extend all hospitality to the visitors and I am pleased that no effort was spared in looking after the few Congressmen who came to my residence led by the Leader of the Opposition this morning."
The Chief Minister said that he did not mind the "over-excited conduct of our Congress friends at my residence. It is completely understandable. Most of them had never been allowed to get anywhere near the Chief Minister’s residence when Captain Amarinder Singh held fort. So, naturally, they got a bit excited at the very prospect of being allowed free access to the place."
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, "Why wait till May 29. I will be in Chandigarh tomorrow evening itself. They are welcome any moment. If they think the issue is urgent, they should come at the earliest. "
Meanwhile, Media Advisor Mr. Harcharan Bains said that the Congressmen actually burnt "the effigy of democracy" in Chandigarh this morning. . Addressing a crowded press conference at the Chief Minister’s residence, Mr. Bains said that the Chief Minister had been pained at the manner in which ‘our Congress friends’ turned down our Punjabi hospitality." He said that all arrangements had been made right from early morning to treat ‘our friends in the opposition absolute democratic magnanimity, setting aside all political differences. We had arranged chairs for everyone, including a VIP chair for Mrs. Bhathal and one the former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh. It is sad that he could not come. But since our Congress friends were coming to the residence of Chief Minister, we owed it to the spirit of Punjabi culture to be good hosts, regardless of what kind of guests they decided to be."
Mr. Bains had been directed to be present at the CM’s residence from 5 (five) a.m., the time when Mr. Badal usually starts his day. Shamianas had been put up both outside and inside the CM’s residence for the benefit of the visitors. Mr. Bains, along with Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema, Advisor to CM, waited for nearly two hours for the congress contingent to arrive. When the Congress legislators, led by Mrs. Bhathal arrived at the site, Mr. Bains went to her with folded hands, requesting her to come inside the CM’s residence. When she led her men towards the CM’s residence, Mr. Bains ordered all gates to be thrown open. Cold water followed by tea and snacks were offered to the visitors, and although they refused to accept, Mr. Bains insisted that the SAD-led government would still be guided by the spirit of Bhai Kanaiya.
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."