Church in electoral politics ? Pitching against the BJP

In a way it is amazing that the Nagaland Baptist Churches Council (NBCC) should deem it necessary to issue something like a writ asking the political parties and the people alike not to have anything to do with the RSS brand of politics and hence the BJP in the run up to the Assembly election in the State. Amazing because, Nagaland is predominantly a Christian State with more than 90 pc of the people being Christians while Hindus constitute a mere 7.7 pc of the population. In the face of this statistical fact, can there be any substance to the feeling of apprehensions sounded by the NBCC ? Or is this reflective of the grounds gained by the BJP in the neighbouring State, which managed to send only two BJP MLAs to the Assembly in the election held in 2013 ? Strange it may sound but the same BJP was in the DAN coalition Government headed by the Naga People’s Front after the Assembly election of 2013 and nothing was said along this line then. Moreover the same NPF is also a partner in the BJP led Government in Manipur. Does this mean that in five years the character of a political party can change so radically that the people and the political parties need to be cautioned on the ‘Hindu’ characteristics of the BJP ? Or does it go beyond this equation and one needs to look at the circumstances under which all political parties and candidates have entered the fray with the BJP being the first National political party to come out strongly against the call to boycott the pending Assembly election ? Remember two Nagaland BJP leaders were suspended from the party after they appended their signature to the joint declaration that all political parties will stay away from the election under the slogan, ‘Solution not Election.’
It is also significant to note that the strong critique from the NBCC came after the BJP split ways with the NPF in Nagaland and tied up with the Rio led Nationalist Democratic People’s Party (NDPP). The interesting part is to see the Church entering electoral politics and it is up to the Nagas or to be more specific, the Christians of Nagaland to see how they take the call of the NBCC. On the other hand, the call of the NBCC also testifies the fact that the Hindutva line adopted by the BJP under the RSS may not always find takers across the country. Beef ban has taken uglier forms and from a ban it has taken the form of cow vigilante even leading to killings. It is this style of politics that everyone should be wary of and the natural question that follows is why cow vigilantism seems to have received a shot in the arm after the BJP came to power. Yet it remains that it would have been much better if the points raised by the NBCC had come from some non-religious affiliated body or a political party. The Church getting involved in electoral politics is not exactly in good taste and it would have made much better sense if the same issue had been raised earlier, when the BJP in Nagaland struck up a post poll alliance with the NPF and formed the Government.

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