State Cong rolls out country’s ‘first political vendetta’ helpline

A victim of political vendetta in Punjab? Dial the Opposition Congress for help.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Updated: April 16, 2014 3:44:54 pm

A victim of political vendetta in Punjab? Dial the Opposition Congress for help. Newly appointed state Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa on Wednesday launched,what according to the party,is the country’s first toll-free helpline offering free legal aid to Congressmen “suffering victimisation at the hands of the ruling SAD-BJP combine”.

“The ruling alliance wants to muzzle the voice of the Opposition. Now we shall not tolerate the terror of Badals and their goons. Any Congress worker facing false cases can seek party’s help through a 24-hour helpline and we will provide him free legal aid to fight against cases of political vendetta,” Bajwa said while launching the helpline in Chandigarh on Wednesday.

The helpline has been started from Amritsar district (Bajwa hails from the Majha belt) and will gradually be launched in all other districts.

Conceived by Punjab Congress Committee legal cell co-chairman,Delhi-based advocate Jaiveer Shergill,the helpline number (18001373737) will be operational from 10 am on Thursday. “After receiving a complaint on the helpline,the legal cell will take note of complainant’s name,address and nearest police station. The details will be forwarded to the district Congress president to verify if the complainant is a Congress worker. Once verified,the DCC president will provide him a lawyer of a panel of 25 to handle the cases. All expenses of the case will be borne by the party,” Shergill said.

He claimed complaints have started pouring in even before the helpline number has started ringing. Amritsar also happens to be the stronghold of Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia,brother-in-law of Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal. “Over the past few days,I have been flooded with calls reporting political vendetta from Majitha (Bikram’s constituency). I was appointed to the legal cell last January and many of my own friends in Punjab are facing vendetta cases,which is why we decided to launch a helpline,” Shergill said. While the empanelled lawyers will provide their services for free,Bajwa said the other expenses of the free legal service will be met by creating a special fund through contribution.

On Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s remark that Congress leaders were competing among themselves to make confrontational statements,he said: “Does the CM expect me to hug him every morning when he is hell bent on destroying democratic institutions in the state? I have to oppose the open looting of the state and burdening of the people with hefty taxes. He cannot extend an olive branch to the Opposition while browbeating its workers and leaders.”

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