How churches control election, voting in Nagaland
Colourful posters issued by various churches can be seen adorned across Nagaland.
The posters plea both the voters and politicians to uphold their "moral values". Churches have instructed voters and candidates to abstain from feasts, immoral sexual and other acts and substance abuse.
In fact, Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), one of the most powerful christian bodies in the state has asked everyone to make Feb 23 a "clean elections".
There are 1,600 churches under NBCC. This makes the NBCC the most powerful body in the state. As the reach of NBCC is too huge, thus voters are directly or indirectly influenced by instructions issued by the religious body.
"Honour individual right and freedom of choice and exercise his/her God-given wisdom to vote for God-fearing, principled and capable candidates. Abstain from indulging in election feasts, substance abuse, sexual immorality and other forms of corrupt practices which are not in tune with Christian principles," NBCC guidelines said.
"It will be more of a spiritual war. We have no agenda and are supporting none. Our sole motto is to tell the truth, stand up for the truth and bring about a positive change," the church has explained.
Dr Hukashe Zhimoni, the director NBCC's development wing - the Nagaland Development Outreach (NDO), said, "We are telling the people and politicians that if you sell your vote, you sell your birthright and identity. We are going to reach out to politicians and rebel groups across the state in a week's time."
However, many feel churches should not interfere in politics.
"The domination of churches is too much in Nagaland. I am a christian. But, I don't want religion to interfere with politics," said George Ao, an entrepreneur-based in Kohima.