Aizawl, July 24, 2019: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on July 24 opened its missionary cell in Mizoram, a Christian majority northeastern India state where the pro-Hindu party has just one legislator.
The cell aims to fight the anti-Christian party tag attached to BJP in Mizoram.
“We are accused of being an anti-Christian party by most people including all the churches in Mizoram. To build a relationship with all the churches and to tell them that we are friends of Christians, friends of Christian organizations, the missionary cell is being set up,” J V Hluna, president of the BJP’s Mizoram unit, told reporters.
“We want to tell people we are a secular party which believes in the Constitution of India,” Hluna added.
The BJP leader also said the new cell with six members will function out of the BJP’s state headquarters.
Among other objectives, the cell will push for the “highest cross to be built in Mizoram and request the Centre to finance religious trips of at least 20 people annually to places like Jerusalem, Bethlehem and so on,” Hluna said.
According to Hluna, the missionary cell will also help Mizo Christian missionaries in distress.
“There are a lot of Mizo Christian missionaries working all over the country. The new cell will help them if they face any problems because of their religious beliefs,” Hluna said.
The missionary cell will be headed by the BJP’s newly-inducted member in the state Lalhriatrenga Chhangte.
The cell is aimed at increasing its footprint in Mizoram, the only state in the northeast which is not ruled by the BJP or one of its allies. The party is in power in Assam, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh and is a constituent in the coalition governments in 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 Buddha Dhan Chakma in a Chakma majority constituency. The party had also contested the state’s lone Lok Sabha seat this year but came third after the Mizo National Front (MNF) and the Congress-Zoram People’s Movement combine.