Saffron brigades chakka jam hits Delhi, other states

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Aug 13 | Updated: Aug 15 2008, 04:46am hrs
Amidst accusations of playing partisan politics by the Congress and other UPA partners, the BJP on Wednesday proceeded ahead with a nationwide chakka jam as part of its strategy to try and transform the Amarnath land row into a pan-India electoral issue.

Road and rail traffic were disrupted across several states including Delhi as BJP and VHP supporters, coming out in support of Amarnath Sangharsh Samiti, sought to play the religion card once again and polarise the electorate in the coming general elections. The blockade was tactically done for only two hours in the morning to affect officegoers, but the message was clear and simpledrive home the point that the BJP was the sole caretaker taking up the cause of Hindu voters.

The BJP gameplan, in fact, has sought to be negated by the Congress and the UPA, who have already charged the saffron party of politicising the issue. The Congress sought to hammer the point once again on Wednesday when it accused the BJP of playing with fire by raking up the issue, which they said had dangerous consequences not only for a sensitive border state but also for the country. The entire purpose of the UPA is to reach out to the people of J&K in a non-partisan manner while that of the BJP is to divide the people, party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.

The BJP, however, has been unapologetic over its role in the Amarnath agitation, contending that the protests in Jammu were not being engineered but are the result of accumulation of grievances. Senior leader Arun Jaitley, who is representing the BJP in the all-party meeting, in fact, is understood to have refuted the charges at the meeting on Tuesday.

In reply to allegations levelled by one of the parties supporting the UPA against the BJP for fuelling communal tensions in Jammu and Kashmir, Jaitley is reported to have shot back saying that there is nothing to be apologetic about its support to the Amarnath agitation. If parties supporting UPA can plead for organisation like SIMI why cant we stand with the masses, Jaitley is believed to have said.

The matter was raised when one of the members expressed reservations to a senior BJP leader proclaiming in a rally in the capital that the saffron party would hold agitation on the issue across the country.

The BJP led protests today were largely peaceful with no reports of any major untoward incident, although activists set up blockades and burnt tyres in several places. BJP and VHP activists said they had exempted school buses, ambulances and essential service vehicles from the purview of their blockade.