In a clear sign of tensions in the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga said that he will not share the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his campaign for the 7 November assembly polls in the state. The remarks come as PM Modi is expected to visit Mizoram around 30 October to campaign for BJP in the northeastern state.
Zoramthanga pointed at the ensuing violence in Manipur where he alleged that the people from the Meitie community are burning churches. “The people of Mizoram are all Christians. When the people of Manipur (Meities) burned hundreds of churches in Manipur, they (Mizos) were totally against that kind of idea. To have sympathy with the BJP at this time will be a big minus point for my party,” Manipur chief minister told BBC in an interview. “It will be better if the prime minister comes alone and he shares the platform by himself, and I take the stage separately by myself,” he said on Monday.
Zoramthanga’s Mizo National Front (MNF) is an NDA ally at the Centre, however, both parties work separately in the state. The remarks point towards the increasing political heat in Mizoram ahead of the elections for the 40-member assembly which is scheduled to go to polls on 7 November and its results will be declared on 3 December.
Contentious refugee question : The Centre and Mizoram government also differed on the issue of refugees from Myanmar, who were arriving in the state to escape the crackdown from the military regime of the country. Centre has repeatedly asked northeastern states to register the biometrics of refugees coming from Myanmar- a direction, Zoramthanga has chosen to ignore.
“The Indian government helped the refugees from the erstwhile East Pakistan and even armed them to attain independence. We don’t arm the refugees from Myanmar, but simply provide them food and shelter on humanitarian grounds,” he said. As per estimates, more than 40,000 people from Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Manipur have taken shelter in Mizoram.