Northeast polls

Double standard? Congress is 'secular' in Nagaland, 'religious' in Meghalaya

Congress-flag (File) Representational image

The Congress is adopting entirely opposite strategies in poll-bound northeastern states of Meghalaya and Nagaland. While the party has decided to support “secular candidates” in Nagaland, it has tasked Christian Congress leaders from Kerala to campaign for the party in Meghalaya.

The Congress has clarified that the party is willing to extend support to secular party candidates in seats where it is not contesting in the assembly election in Nagaland to stop BJP and its alliance partner from "compromising the way of life of the people of Nagaland,” reports PTI.

However, the party seems to be singing a different tune when it comes to Meghalaya elections as the Congress has roped in Christian leaders from Kerala to campaign in the state which goes to polls on February 27. According to IANS, leaders from Kerala who have been asked to begin campaigning in the Christian-majority northeastern state of Meghalaya include former chief minister Oommen Chandy, senior legislator K.C. Joseph, Lok Sabha member Anto Antony and MLA Dominic Presentation.

Chandy will begin his campaign from Monday after he was directed by the Congress party high command to head for Meghalaya, according to IANS.

Secular ploy

Defending its move, Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) said in a statement, “ The decision is aimed at stopping the BJP and its alliance partner from compromising the rights of our people and our way of life.” The rank and file of the party has been asked to back secular party candidates to save the people from sinking in the "Hindutva quicksand," reports PTI.

The BJP has formed an alliance with the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) led by three-time former chief minister and sitting MP Neiphiu Rio. The BJP and the NDPP would contest in 20 and 40 seats respectively in Nagaland.

Reacting to the NDPP-BJP alliance in the state, the Congress said, “It is also shocking that the NDPP decided to share Nagaland assembly seats with the BJP by providing them 20 seats ignoring the cry and fear of the people," it said adding that the NPCC has been campaigning about "the danger of Hindutva for over two and a half years," reports PTI.

The NDPP leaders are fully aware of how minorities and minority religions are persecuted and are suffering under the BJP rule, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Congress is not the only party that has decided to woo voters in Meghalaya with the assistance of Christian political leaders from Kerala.

Minister Of State for Tourism, K.J.Alphons is leading the BJP campaign in Meghalaya while the Nationalist Congress Party has sought the help of its Kerala unit to send end former state minister Thomas Chandy and party leader Mani C. Kappen for campaigning, reports IANS.

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