BJP's bandh affect trains, highways
Several highways across the country were blocked and some trains were stopped on Thursday as BJP and VHP workers took to the streets in support of their shutdown to protest revocation of the land allotment to the Amarnath shrine board in Jammu and Kashmir.
While there were reports of several trains being blocked in Agra, the Delhi-Amritsar highway was blocked by Bharatiya Janata Party and Vishwa Hindu Parishad workers. Traffic between the Capital and the suburb of Noida was also impacted with the protesters blocking the DND flyover.
The VHP's international general secretary Praveen Togadia claimed that the strike was completely successful. A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader added that "the impact was more visible" in states ruled by the party.
BJP and VHP workers came out in large numbers on the streets in cities like Indore, Agra, Aligarh and Bhopal. In Ahmedabad, however, the ruling BJP said it would not join the shutdown given the precarious security situation in view of the annual Jagannath rathyatra on Friday.
"About 150 rathyatras are taken out in the state and keeping the security aspect uppermost in mind we have decided not to join the strike," BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Rupani told IANS.
He said the decision was taken after parleys with party president Rajnath Singh.
The state government, he said, had a lot at stake and wanted to ensure that the annual procession in honour of Lord Jagannath passed off peacefully. "No chances can be taken on security and communal peace," Rupani added.
He, however, clarified that the BJP strongly resented the Jammu and Kashmir government's move to cancel the allotment of 40 hectares of forest land for the Amarnath board that manages the pilgrimage to the high altitude shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.
"Our routine protests are anyway on," he said.