Gujarat BJP to stay away from shutdown

July 3rd, 2008 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Ahmedabad, July 3 (IANS) Gujarat’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Thursday it would not join the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in the shutdown against the cancellation of allotment of land to the Amarnath shrine board in Jammu and Kashmir due to security considerations. A nervous BJP said the decision was being taken in view of the precarious security situation with the annual Jagannath Yatra scheduled for Friday.

“About 150 Rathyatras are taken out in the state; keeping the security aspect uppermost in mind we have decided not to join the shutdown,” said BJP spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Rupani.

He said the decision was taken after parleys with party president Rajnath Singh.

“Even the organisers of the state Rathyatras had voiced apprehension. So we decided not to participate,” Rupani said.

The BJP, he said, had a lot at stake and wanted to ensure that the annual festival dedicated to Lord Jagannath passed off peacefully. “No chances can be taken on security and communal peace.”

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.

The state VHP has appealed to businesses, offices, schools and colleges in the state to remain closed. It has also appealed for peace during the shutdown.

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