After Nagaland, Meghalaya, BJP storms into another Christian NE state

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After Nagaland, Meghalaya, BJP storms into another Christian NE state

After Nagaland and Meghalaya, the BJP is expanding its political and organisational base in another Christian dominated northeastern state Mizoram, where the saffron party last week for the first time swept the election to the Village Councils (VCs) under the Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC).
 

Aizawl: After Nagaland and Meghalaya, the BJP is expanding its political and organisational base in another Christian dominated northeastern state Mizoram, where the saffron party last week for the first time swept the election to the Village Councils (VCs) under the Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC).

Christianity has emerged as the major religion in three northeastern states — Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya, where tribals constitute 86 per cent to 95 per cent of the total population (2011 census).

The BJP swept the election to the VCs (equivalent to Gram Panchayats in other states and outside the Autonomous District Council areas) under MADC in Mizoram by winning majority seats in 41 of the 99 VCs while the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) secured a majority in 25 VCs. The Congress and the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) got a majority in eight and two VCs respectively.

Independent candidates won one VC while there is no clear majority in 22 VCs.

Of the total 492 Village Council seats, the BJP won 232 seats, the MNF managed 127 seats, the Congress bagged seats in the April 18 elections to the Village Councils under MADC.

For the all round socio-economic development of different tribal communities, Mizoram has three tribal autonomous bodies — Lai Autonomous District Council (LADC), Chakma Autonomous District Council (CADC) and the Mara Autonomous District Council (MADC).

BJP MLA Buddha Dhan Chakma is the only saffron party legislator in the 40-member Mizoram Assembly, for which elections would be held in November-December this year.

Chakma won the Tuichawng assembly seat in the 2018 assembly elections and the BJP for the first time entered the state assembly in the Christian and tribal dominated northeastern state.

Before the Mizoram assembly, the BJP entered the Nagaland assembly in 2013 by winning one seat in the 60 member assembly.

In the 2018 assembly polls, the BJP won 12 seats in Nagaland and two seats in Meghalaya and the party secured an equal number of seats in the two Christian dominated northeastern states in the February 27, 2023 assembly polls.

The saffron party secured 18.81 per cent votes in Nagaland and 9.33 per cent votes in Meghalaya in the February elections against 15.31 per cent and 9.63 per cent votes in the two states respectively in the 2018 polls.

Since the last Assembly elections in 2018, the BJP has been playing the minority card which has seen positive outcomes in elections to the Autonomous District Councils during the past year.

Political pundits predict that the BJP is likely to do better in the next Mizoram assembly elections, due in November-December this year.

Media reports in Mizoram said that the BJP’s electoral prospects brightened after the resignation of Mizoram Social Welfare and Tribal Affairs Minister K. Beichhua in December last year.

State Chief Minister and ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) president Zoramthanga asked Beichhua to step down from the council of ministers.

Beichhua, who was elected from the Siaha constituency as the MNF nominee for two consecutive terms since 2013, along with a few MLAs from other parties is likely to join the BJP and contest from Siaha assembly seat on a BJP ticket, local media reports said.

Considering its recent local body poll success, the BJP is highly optimistic about its growth in the future elections in the bordering state.

Mizoram BJP president Vanlalhmuaka said: “The assembly elections in the state are more than six months away. Our state leaders and workers are working hard to further strengthen our party and we are confident of doing much better in the next assembly polls.”

He said that the BJP would field candidates for all the 40 assembly seats.

“Considering the party’s performance in other northeastern states, people of Mizoram have trust in the BJP as they predict that no other party including the MNF would be able to form the next government in the state after the elections,” Vanlalhmuaka said.

The BJP leaders are busy in mobilising support in the non-Mizo and minority dominated areas in Mamit, Siaha, Lunglei and Lawngtlai districts, where a considerable number of Reang, Chakma and Hmar tribals are residing.

In May last year, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the 25-member Mara Autonomous District Council polls in south Mizoram’s Siaha district. It has won 12 seats, one seat short of getting an absolute majority.

While addressing a party meeting recently, Zoramthanga said his party is also confident of raising its seats to 30 in the next assembly election.

Political commentators said that the majority of the Mizo people would not support the BJP as they consider that the party is anti-Christian due to its strong Hindutva ideology and agenda.

They said that the BJP is most unlikely to raise its tally much unless it ties up with the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) ally MNF.

The BJP had contested 39 seats and secured 8.09 per cent votes against the ruling MNF’s 37.70 per cent in the 2018 Assembly polls.

The Congress, which ruled Mizoram for decades, secured four seats and 29.98 per cent votes in the last assembly polls in 2018.

The Congress lost its last bastion Mizoram in the northeastern region to the MNF, which returned to power in the mountainous state in the 2018 Assembly elections by winning 27 seats.

Of the eight states in the northeastern region, the BJP is ruling four — Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura. Parties which are constituents of the NDA are running governments in the remaining four states including Mizoram.


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