Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, a political ally of the BJP at the national level, has made a bold statement, declaring that he won't share the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the latter’s potential visit to the state ahead of the upcoming elections.
This surprising decision stems from the recent outbreak of violence in neighboring Manipur, where tensions have erupted between the predominantly Hindu Meiteis and the Kuki-Zo, a Christian community sharing ancestral ties with the Mizos.
In an interview with BBC News, Zoramthanga expressed his concern that publicly aligning with the BJP at this time, given the party's perceived role in the Manipur conflict, might lead to discontent among the people of Mizoram. He clarified that he is open to a separate meeting with the Prime Minister but ruled out any joint appearances.
Despite being a member of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the national level, the MNF (Mizo National Front) has no alliance with the BJP within Mizoram. The BJP operates as an opposition party in the state and is slated to hold a rally on October 30.
The recent violence in Manipur is expected to cast a shadow over the impending Mizoram elections, as over 87% of Mizoram's population follows the Christian faith.
Zoramthanga also emphasized that his government's decision to provide assistance to refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh, along with internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Manipur, is likely to bolster the MNF's prospects in the upcoming elections. He stressed that these refugees and IDPs are all of Mizo origin and hold considerable influence in the state.
The forthcoming Assembly elections in Mizoram are shaping up as a three-way contest involving the MNF, the opposition Zoram People's Movement (ZPM), and the Congress. While the BJP is expected to exert influence in some pockets, it is not considered a major contender in the state.