India’s pro-Hindu party wins over Christian-led states

March 13, 2018 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

New Delhi, March 13, 2018: The power of symbolism matters the most in politics. It is not without good reason that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a grand welcome from his party members in parliament and top leaders as he arrived for the second half of a budget session on March 5.

Modi was greeted with traditional jackets and stoles made by indigenous people in northeastern states. They were given to all lawmakers and federal ministers from Modi’s pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who attended the session wearing them.

The point was to drive home the message that the BJP has been able to make a significant impact among tribal voters, mostly Christians, in the northeastern region in the just-concluded elections in three states.

“BJP leaders are upbeat about these election results as they believe this will help them in future elections in states like Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh later this year. This lays a good foundation for Modi’s party for the 2019 general elections,” political observer Ratnadeep Gupta told

The results of state elections in the Christian-dominated states of Nagaland and Meghalaya, as well as in the communist stronghold of Tripura on March 3, showed how the BJP is making considerable gains in these areas.

This is especially the case among indigenous people, among whom the party has had a negligible presence so far.

In Tripura, the BJP and its allies won 43 seats in the 60-seat house in a historical victory that unseated the communists after 25 years of uninterrupted rule.

In Nagaland, the BJP-led coalition won 31 seats with the BJP alone claiming 12 to set a new precedent in India’s tribal heartland. The BJP alliance is staking a claim to form the next government.

It also aims to be part of the ruling authority in Catholic-dominated Meghalaya state despite having only won two seats in the 59-seat house.

Yet it has managed to cobble together a formidable alliance by teaming up with a local party that won 19 seats and three other parties to unseat its main rival, the Congress Party.

The latter has emerged as the single largest party, wining 21 seats but falling 10 short of a simple majority.

In effect, the BJP will control governments in all three states that have gone to the polls. The party’s jubilation was well articulated by party leader and federal law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“In spite of a very vicious campaign against the BJP among the Christian minorities, it has won 12 seats” in Nagaland, he said.

– ucan

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