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Essential services won't be hit by BJP hartal on July 3

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | July 02, 2008 13:41 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party has toned down its nationwide protest against the cancellation of allotment of land to the Amarnath Shrine Board and has termed it as an aam hartal. BJP leaders on Wednesday assured that the nation-wide hartal on Thursday would not affect essential services.

"We are calling it a national strike and not Bharat Bandh," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Asked if the bandh would hit commuters traveling from one city to another, BJP leader Rajeev Pratap Rudy said, " These are natural apprehensions whenever there is a strike or a bandh call given by political parties. We have no way of addressing the apprehension of the commuters."

He added, "Those traveling may have to suffer a bit."

Senior party leaders were not sure if they were in a position to give any assurance that the Bharat Bandh, called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on the same day, would not turn violent. Rudy admitted that if the VHP workers resorted to violence during the bandh, it could sully the image of BJP.

"There is nothing that we can do about it," he said.

Assistant Commissioner of Delhi Police Rajan Bhagat, who interacts with the media on behalf of the police commissioner, said that adequate steps would be taken to ensure that  traffic runs smoothly.

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