BJP eyes last Northeast holdout, sets up Christian cell in Mizoram

BJP eyes last Northeast holdout, sets up Christian cell in Mizoram

TNN | Jul 19, 2019, 09:25 IST

Lalhriatrenga Chhangte will head the Christian Missionary Cell

AIZAWL: The BJP, which has failed to make inroads in Christian-dominated Mizoram, has set up a ‘Christian Missionary Cell’ headed by Lalhriatrenga Chhangte, who unsuccessfully contested the state’s lone Lok Sabha seat. Chhangte was asked by the party’s state unit to be their candidate for the LS polls, but he had refused and contested as an Independent. He joined the BJP last Friday after laying down several conditions — and the constitution of the missionary cell was one of them.

The BJP had never won even one assembly seat in Mizoram until 2018, when Dr BD Chakma, a former minister in the Congress regime, won from Tuichawng. Former state BJP chief VF Lalzarliana had even said that the lotus can bloom only in the plains but never in the hills.

State BJP president John V Hluna said the missionary cell was constituted on Wednesday after holding discussions with the party’s north east zonal secretary (organisation) Ajay Jamwal. “Chhangte will appoint committee members of the cell in consultation with me,” Hluna said. The terms of reference of the cell include building a good relationship with all the churches and parachurches in the state. The first step will be to issue a circular to all of them, informing them that the cell will always be open for them and will be ready to listen to their grievances and problems. “Any problems being faced by the churches and parachurches will be taken up immediately,” the state BJP chief said.

Hluna said the missionary cell will also collect data of all Christian missionaries, including names, addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, so the cell can extend help to them when required.

The state BJP chief said that Chhangte, by virtue of being the chairman of the missionary cell, would become an office bearer as well as state executive member of the BJP and will be appointed head of the media department.

Chhangte was the first mining engineer among Mizos and had recently resigned as deputy controller of mines at the Indian Bureau of Mining, Kolkata. His elder brother C Lalramzauva, a senior advocate and leader of the ruling Mizo National Front, is now adviser to the chief minister.

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