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Nagaland elections: Church's statement may boost BJP's chances

By Vikas
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    Days before polling, the Baptist church in Nagaland made an unprecedented move and launched a scathing attack on the BJP. The Nagaland Baptist Churches Council (NBCC), apex body of Baptist churches in the state, in an open letter to presidents of all political parties in Nagaland, stated that India had experienced the worst persecution of minority communities in 2015-2017 under the RSS-backed BJP government.

    A Church (Image for representation only)

    Among other things, the NBCC called on 'believers' not to surrender Christian principles and faith for the sake of money and development into the hands of those who seek to "pierce the heart of Jesus Christ."

    The statement may eventually end up helping the BJP. Earlier, it were only the media reports that claimed that the BJP's influence is on a rise in the North East, but this statement by church has confirmed it. What church has done is to acknowledge that the BJP is indeed a force to reckon with in Nagaland.

    In Nagaland, elections are fought more on tribal, village and individual lines than by ideologies or promises made by political parties. Given that all candidates are usually Christians, religion too does not count in electoral politics.

    A common man in Nagaland, who otherwise may not have paid any heed to the BJP, will now begin taking the saffron party seriously.

    When asked about the unprecedented stand taken by the church, Rev. Zelhou Keyho, the NBCC general secretary, talking to the Indian Express said, "This time it has really become a threat (RSS-backed BJP). That is why we felt we had to make a strong statement not only on behalf of the church here but also on behalf of Christians in the country in general."

    [Assembly elections 2018: Will the BJP conquer Northeast?]

    In a few hours from now, it would be clear who will form the government in Nagaland as the counting is underway. The BJP which is currently in the Nagaland government with NPF has decided to walk out of the alliance and join hands with Neiphiu Rio's newly launched party NDPP.

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