GUWAHATI: The BJP in Christian-majority Mizoram has set up a “missionary cell” to try and win over the community.
The cell will build relationship with churches and church organisations and help missionaries in whatever way possible whenever they are faced with a problem. The cell will be headed by the state’s first mining engineer, Lalhriatrenga Chhangte, who joined the BJP recently.
“Christians of various denominations account for 96 per cent of Mizoram’s total population. The missionary cell will build a relationship with the state’s various churches and church organisations. It will also collect data of Mizo missionaries living outside Mizoram and maintain a relationship with them,” BJP’s Mizoram unit president JV Hluna told this newspaper.
He admitted that the objective behind the cell’s formation was “to win over the Christians”. The BJP is viewed as an anti-Christian party in the state. Hluna alleged former Congress Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla had built that image of the BJP.
“Our main problem is the accusation that we are an anti-Christian party. Our rival political parties such as opposition Congress and ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) often brand us as being anti-Christian. But we are secular like any other political party,” Hluna asserted.
He said the MNF was against the BJP despite the party’s assertion of being in the National Democratic Alliance.
For the BJP, Mizoram is the only state in the Northeast which remains to be conquered. The party is in power in Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh while it is a constituent in the coalition governments of Nagaland and Meghalaya.
The BJP had contested 39 of Mizoram’s 40 seats in last year’s Assembly elections but won just one seat. The seat was won by a Chakma in a Chakma majority constituency. The party had also contested in the state’s lone Lok Sabha seat but came third after the MNF and the Congress-Zoram People’s Movement combine.