Mizoram 2018

Mizoram Assembly Elections 2018’s reigning theme: Who broke bread with BJP?

BJP push: Home Minister Rajnath Singh during an election campaign in Mizoram.  

Parties considered to be in sync with Christian sentiments are “exposing” one another’s connection with the BJP as the campaign gathers momentum for the November 28 Mizoram election. Past “compromises” and active links with the BJP are haunting each of them.

The ruling Congress has targeted the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), saying it will tie up with the BJP if the latter wins five seats in areas dominated by the ethnic minorities.

Seven political and semi-political groups had merged to form the ZPM led by a former IPS officer, Lalduhoma. The ZPM’s 38 candidates are contesting as Independents as the party could not register with the Election Commission in time.

“The BJP is focussed on the Bru- and Chakma-dominated areas. We foresee horse-trading if the BJP manages to win [a few seats] and if Independents get elected,” Congress spokesperson Lal Liangchhunga said.

Insisting this did not mean the Congress was not confident about getting the Bru and Chakma votes or holding its own against regional parties, Mr. Liangchhunga said the Congress had been reminding voters about the BJP’s Christian-baiting elsewhere in India and that the BJP winning two or three seats would be a “fatal blow to the Church”.

The Congress and traditional rival Mizo National Front (MNF) have been harping about the ZPM’s BJP link by referring to a recorded conversation between Mr. Lalduhoma and a BJP leader where the former points out the advantages of a tie-up.

“That was when the ZPM was not formed. The Church is supporting us because we have nothing to do with the BJP. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones at others,” Kenneth Chawngliana, ZPM’s senior vice-president, said.

He reminded the Congress of its “unholy alliance” with the BJP for ruling the Chakma Autonomous District Council, and asked why the MNF continued to be in the BJP-helmed North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).

The MNF, seeking to return to power after 10 years, said linking the party to the BJP via NEDA — a forum specifically for the development of the Northeast irrespective of political ideology — was cheap politics.

“People have seen through the understanding between the Congress and the BJP. Some regional parties want to jump onto the BJP bandwagon but are quiet about it lest they hurt Christian sentiments,” MNF general secretary James B. Ralte said.

The BJP has added to the “connection confusion” by saying it has “friends” in most parties.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 12:38:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/mizoram-assembly-elections-2018/mizoram-assembly-elections-2018s-reigning-theme-who-broke-bread-with-bjp/article25550335.ece

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