‘Hindutva’ is BJP’s Liability in the State: Mizoram BJP President
PM Modi (left) and Mizoram BJP State President John V Hluna (right). 
PM Modi (left) and Mizoram BJP State President John V Hluna (right). (Photo courtesy: John V Hluna)

‘Hindutva’ is BJP’s Liability in the State: Mizoram BJP President

Mizoram’s BJP President, John V Hluna expressed his unhappiness with the lack of importance given to the state by the party’s central leadership. Hluna also flagged BJP's 'Hindutva' image as a big liability.

In a candid interview with Reuters, which was published on the day the state went to polls, on Wednesday, 28 November, Hluna said that from Modi to Shah, no national BJP leader had put in the slightest effort in the pre-election campaign. He also said that they didn’t give the state enough importance.

Adding to this, he said, the biggest problem the party faced in the state, was carrying the tag of Hindutva.

According to Hluna, people in Mizoram – a predominantly Christian state – have in the past opposed the BJP, as they believe that the party would persecute Christians, should they be voted to power, the Reuters report read.

Despite this, Hluna told the news agency that he was fairly confident of the BJP bagging the highest number of seats in the Assembly elections, voting for which began on Wednesday, 28 November. He said the people wanted change and development, which the BJP could give them, the report added.

On Central Leadership’s ‘Disinterest’

Hluna told the news agency that he didn’t think that Modi, Shah and the party’s other central leaders had made enough of an effort for the pre-election campaign in Mizoram, as they had only sent one lawmaker and not visited any constituency themselves.

Not satisfied (with the central leadership’s support). They are not coming (to the state) like we want them to and our sentiment is almost hurt by it ... No national leader has visited my constituency. We do feel we are not given enough importance.
John V Hluna to Reuters

He further said that since Hindi or English isn’t the first language of the Mizo people, the party’s central leadership did not have that much effect on them.

Another point he brought up, was the lack of funds and lack of power that the state party was being given by its central leadership.

“They should give us more money so that we can run things on our own. But there is no money, we are very poor. If there is a lot of money, we can do well,” he told Reuters.

Also Read : Mizoram: BJP Dark Horse in Traditional Congress-MNF Battleground?

On BJP’s Greatest Problem in Mizoram

To Hluna, the BJP’s greatest challenge to coming into power, was being perceived as a pro-Hindutva outfit, which would persecute those belonging to the Christian faith, the report stated.

Even in (church) prayer meetings, they (the people of Mizoram) say let’s pray so that the BJP does not come to power. At a church service I attended in Saitual, someone said such and such number of Christians died and were persecuted after the BJP came to power in 2014, and in 2016 and 2017, etc. The self-appointed expert in statistics blamed the BJP. 
John V Hluna to Reuters

Also Read : Mizoram Polls: 47 Polling Booths Declared ‘Critical’ by EC

However, he added that it would be a Christian BJP candidate from Mizoram, who would come to power, if the BJP won the elections. Hence, he said, this is why people shouldn’t think against voting for the BJP, the report stated.

On BJP’s Chances of Winning

Despite his problem with the central leadership of the BJP and the party’s “Hindutva” image in the state, Hluna told Reuters that he was fairly confident and optimistic about its win in the elections.

The reason, he said, was because people were fed up with the Congress rule under Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla and that they wanted change and development- which the state party under Narendra Modi’s guidance, would be able to give them.

Firstly, people are really tired of (Congress Chief Minister) Pu Hawla (‘Pu’ is a Mizo honorific). To replace him, Pu Zoramthanga (leader of the main opposition MNF) thinks he will be the one… We promise change, we promise development, development and development. And when they look at Pu Modi, they believe he will deliver.
John V Hluna to Reuters

Also Read : Mizoram Polls: 4 Worries For Next Ruler of a Top-Performing State

He also said that if the Congress, MNF and other parties were unable to form the new government independently, he was confident that their lawmakers would join the BJP, which, he claimed, would win the maximum seats in the elections, the report said.

(With inputs from Reuters)

(The Quint is now available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)

Follow our Mizoram Elections 2018 section for more stories.

    Also Watch