It's safe for Christians to join BJP, says party's Mizoram chief

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Aizawl, Mar 20 (PTI) BJP leaders are not communal or religious bigots, party's Mizoram unit president Vanlalhmuaka said on Saturday, asserting that it was 'safe' for Christians to join it.

Addressing a party workers' meet in bypoll-bound Serchhip, he said the BJP's central leadership encouraged every member to freely follow any culture or religion of their choice.

'I have been serving as a teacher in Sunday school (class for learning theology in churches) for 13 years now.

Prime Minister Modi and other BJP leaders have never suggested me to convert to Hinduism even a single time. Instead, they told me to be firm in my culture and religion (Christianity),' he said.

'It is safe for Christians to become a part of the BJP,' Vanlalhmuaka added.

The party's national leadership are anti-communal and not religious bigots, he told the gathering.

Slamming the ruling MNF, Vanlalhmuaka said the people of the state have lost faith in the government.

MNF, headed by Chief Minister Zoramthanga, is a part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). However, the two parties do not work together in the state.

Urging the people to vote for the BJP in the upcoming bypoll, Vanlalhmuaka said his party will field a candidate from the Serchhip town itself.

Lalhriatrenga Chhangte, who is speculated to be the party's candidate, said that he would make great efforts with the help of the Centre to usher in all-round development in Serchhip if the party wins.

He exuded hope that the party's membership will increase by 2023 when the state goes to the polls.

In the 2018 polls, the BJP won one seat in the 40- member Mizoram assembly.

The bypoll to the Serchhip seat was necessitated due to the disqualification of MLA Laldhuma in November last year.

It is scheduled to be held on April 17.

The ruling MNF, opposition Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and Congress have already announced the names of their candidates.

The BJP and People's Conference (PC) party are yet to announce the names of their candidates.

The last date for filing nominations is March 30 and counting of votes will be undertaken on May 2. PTI CORR SOM SOM