In the scenario of the upcoming Mizoram Assembly Elections of 2023, the Mizoram Congress Chief, Pu Lalsawta said that Mizo people feel threatened by the BJP’s agenda (Hindutva agenda).
Through his words, he cited that the possibility of BJP forming a government with either of the two regional parties in the fray would ultimately prompt the people of Mizoram to vote for Congress and bring it back to power.
Political Scenario of Mizoram
Mizoram is the only state in the Northeast left out of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) stronghold. From 2014, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in power in the center, all the northeastern states have chief ministers from BJP only.
The state with a population of a million people, sends just one lawmaker to parliament’s lower house. In the last few decades, the Congress and the Mizo National Front (MNF) have battled for power against each other in Mizoram, but the BJP with the Hindutva agenda, is looking to make a dent this time in the 40-seat assembly, riding the Modi wave and promising development in a state bogged down by weak infrastructure and lack of industry.
The state assembly election is on 7 November, along with the four other states. BJP Chief J P Nadda has released a political manifesto with promises of drug-free Mizoram, border dispute resolution, quota for women, and many more if they win the assembly elections post 7 November.
Religious Configuration of Mizoram
Mizoram is the second least populated state in India and has a majority population of Christians. According to the census 2011, out of the 10.97 Lakh population, around 9.56 lakhs (87.16%) have returned themselves as followers of Christianity, 94 thousand (8.51%) as Buddhists, and 30 thousand (2.75%) as Hindus. In addition, 0.09% stated no religion & 1.48% said other religions.
In this view, as per many political researchers, the BJP is focusing on uniting the minority communities, particularly the Chakma and Bru in Mizoram. Such views are widely spread across the state.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi stated that if the people of Mizoram want to preserve their culture, religion, and language, should not vote BJP. Some quoted that the BJP relies on the Hindutva plank, and they seem to have a negative attitude towards Christians.
They also said that the central government and the state government of Manipur could not protect the Mizo people who belong to the Zo family. How can they be trusted to become the representative of the Mizo people?
Bru refugees for the first time are excluded from the voter’s list. Many of them have gone to Tripura with few left in Mamit. In the Mamit constituency, there are approximately 23,000 voters, out of which over 7,000 are Brus and Chakmas. The BJP is making its full efforts to consolidate these minority 7,000 votes to the maximum extent.
Will Religion served as the Divisive Factor in Mizoram?
Religion has always been a defining point in Indian elections. Religion was the one that led the founding stone of the partition of India and Pakistan. India, with a diversity of religions, has a majority of Hindu population. Hindu voters have become a stronghold of BJP’s vote bank all over India.
Mizoram, with one of the largest Christian populations, left out of the victory storm of the BJP. So, the BJP is following all techniques to win over it.
There are many chances that the minority voters may get divided between different parties.
The Zoram People’s Movement has been perceived as an emerging force in Mizoram this time and may become a strong contender for forming the government. With a promise of Zo unification by MNF post-elections, these Manipur Assembly Elections are taking new turns.
By looking at the various opinion polls, even if the Mizo votes get divided among the MNF, ZPM, INC, and BJP, but MNF still appears stronger.
BJP’s strategy to work on the minority for votes, apart from Mamit district, the party is also looking at other constituencies like Siaha and Palak in the Southern part of the Lawngtlai district bordering Myanmar. In all these districts, minority voters play a crucial role.
It is entirely on the people of Mizoram, who will vote in the Assembly Elections 2023. Analysis of the past, it is true that religion and politics cannot be separated in India. Religion was one of the founding stones of India into two nations – India and Pakistan.
This is also important to think that is the political party BJP using its Hindutva agenda to win elections or post elections in India. Over the years, many people of different religions criticized the BJP for using Hindutva ideology against the Muslim minority in India. Is this ideology a threat to other minority cultures, languages, and religions?
In these upcoming elections in Mizoram, leaving behind the topic of religion, unemployed youths are more concerned about jobs, corruption-free governance, good healthcare facilities, and the improvement of the state’s economic conditions.
To bring prosperity and peace to the State despite the violence in Manipur, workings on socio-political objectives are essential.
Every party has to understand that investing in youth growth will increase their chances of victory in the future. So, it is better to work on a secular path and bring employment opportunities and infrastructural development in the Mizoram to avoid any future disaster from drug trafficking or any violence due to ethnicity or religion.