BJP dodges as rivals sharpen 'communal' knife in Nagaland

KOHIMA: In the struggle for Nagaland, the spotlight has shifted to faith, which had by no means prior to taken centre-stage in Naga politics. The influential Nagaland Baptist Church Council on Saturday asked citizens to make their choices with "God-given clear conscience". General secretary of the council Reverend Zelhou Keyho had previous sparked a row with his letter to political leaders of Nagaland, warning them of "Hindutva" forces looking to take over the Naga society.
"We are not against BJP as a political outfit, but the party needs to come clean on the perceptions about it," Keyho said in an unique conversation with TOI. "People have a sense of apprehension about its agenda across India, including Nagaland. It is time the apprehensions are laid to rest," he added.

Trying to clear the air, rent with prices and counter-charges over the last two weeks, Keyho said, "In my letter, I had asked political leaders to watch out for the influence of a communal movement operating behind the political party." His words have been misinterpreted, he added, and had caused resentment even if he did not imply to benefit any celebration with his remark.

BJP has been taking a guarded strategy to faith within the state, where 88% of the inhabitants is Christian. "Only a few people are trying to mix religion and politics to help certain candidates and parties. But the Naga people have realized that politics is for governance and religion is above politics," junior house minister and BJP's election-in-charge for Nagaland Kiren Rijiju informed TOI.

Dismissing any purpose of shock for BJP, Rijiju was once assured in regards to the celebration's potentialities within the state. "BJP has emerged stronger because it is the only party that has understood and recognized the unique Naga history and political problems. Some parties are worried because of our growth here," he said.

Political watchers, too, link the intensified attack on BJP to the features it's anticipated to make this election. A state BJP functionary said the celebration is bound of bagging at least 12 of the 20 seats it's contesting in alliance with the newly-formed National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), led by means of former leader minister and BJP's depended on ally Neiphiu Rio. NDPP shall be contesting the remaining 40 seats. Rio has additionally, from time to time, tried to stave off fears surrounding BJP and the imaginable communal time table it might bring to the table if it becomes part of the government.

"Local Nagas hardly question BJP on the issue of religion because we have cleared our position in this regard. We are committed to development and protecting all minorities," Nagaland BJP normal secretary Eduzu Theluo said. "We are surprised that Shurhozelie Liezietsu suddenly started having apprehensions about BJP. He used to say BJP is a natural ally," Theluo added. NPF have been a long-time ally of BJP till early this month, when BJP dumped NPF for NDPP.

NPF has been appealing to citizens to not "compromise" on their Christian faith by means of balloting for the "wrong party". Party president Shurhozelie warned people that NDPP's alliance with BJP would threaten Naga "faith, culture and identity".

Congress, although decreased to an also-ran with simply 18 candidates this time, may be using the communal card towards BJP. Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee president Ok Therie said, "It would be foolish to vote for the Hindutva mission."

BJP dodges as rivals sharpen 'communal' knife in Nagaland BJP dodges as rivals sharpen 'communal' knife in Nagaland Reviewed by kailash soni on February 25, 2018 Rating: 5
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