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Nagaland assembly elections: BJP offers voters free Jerusalem trip, Congress promises subsidy

Under the section “Senior Citizens”, the BJP manifesto released by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Kiren Rijiju, promises to “set up a senior citizen board” to select 50 people through a lucky draw for a “free trip to the Holy Land of Jerusalem”

Written by Dipankar Ghose | Kohima |
Updated: February 17, 2018 7:51:45 am
Nagaland assembly elections: BJP offers voters free Jerusalem trip, Congress promises subsidy Under the section “Senior Citizens”, the BJP manifesto released by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Kiren Rijiju, promises to “set up a senior citizen board” to select 50 people through a lucky draw for a “free trip to the Holy Land of Jerusalem”

The powerful Nagaland Baptist Church Council has already waded into Nagaland’s electoral politics asking people to be wary of an attack on Christianity, and now the BJP and Congress manifestos, released Friday, promised voters a free or subsidised trip to Jerusalem. While the BJP, under attack from the Church, turned to Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s integral humanism, the Congress manifesto devotes three pages to the “RSS-BJP forcing its communal agenda in Nagaland”.

With assembly elections just 10 days away, the Naga People’s Front did not address religion in its manifesto, but all three parties speak extensively about a solution to the Naga talks, and the improvement of the state’s crumbling infrastructure.

Under the section “Senior Citizens”, the BJP manifesto released by Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Kiren Rijiju, promises to “set up a senior citizen board” to select 50 people through a lucky draw for a “free trip to the Holy Land of Jerusalem”. According to the Congress manifesto: “By an act of the state government, a board will be established to facilitate minorities to visit the Holy Land (Jerusalem) at a subsidized cost.”

In its appeal to the people, the Congress, contesting 18 seats said, “The BJP is the political arm of the RSS and the Hindutva brotherhood driven by a devilish resilience to persecute all minorities. The single objective of this nexus of evil is to create a Hindu Raj. The NPF has pledged their soul to this force of evil to loot and plunder Nagaland.” In response, to both the Congress and the Baptist Church, the BJP manifesto said, “The BJP is a pro- people, people centric, pro-active development centred secular party with its ideological principles of “Integral Humanism” as propounded by its philosopher and guide Shri Deen Dayal Upadhyaya and… stand strong and committed for the harmonious co-existence of all communities and faiths within the country and with the global community.”

On the Naga political issue, the BJP lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s signing of the Framework Agreement of 2015, while the NPF said that it remained committed to the realisation of a “common Naga homeland and shared Naga future through integration of contiguous Naga inhabited areas.”

The Congress has turned to its own history and said Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi initiated discussions and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi made it a “national issue and offered for negotiation without any precondition.”

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