Congress uses Bible, Church to tide over anti-incumbency in Meghalaya

Presbyterian_Church, Meghalaya

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership has expressed its confidence that the party will be able to form the next government in Meghalaya. Although it is unlikely that the party would get a clear majority on its own in the House, it hopes to arrive at the magical figure by cobbling together a post-poll alliance with regional players such as National People’s Party (NPP).

Feeling the heat, the Congress has unleashed a highly communal campaign with its leaders exploiting the Church machinery to its hilt. A host of Christian politicians from other states have descended on Meghalaya to give a boost to the party’s campaign. Certain churches have issued pastoral letters asking believers not to support ‘devil’s party BJP’. It also sought to create a fear psychosis among Christians about BJP. A government official told that he had recently warned a pastor against “mixing religion with politics” after he gave a political sermon in a church.

Senior Congress leaders, who often give sermons on secularism on national TV channels, were also found issuing statements using Biblical allusions and parallels to subtly communalise the atmosphere. The Congress has termed the political parties supporting BJP as “Judas in operation”. AICC national spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said, “Parties supporting the BJP, tacitly or otherwise, have sold their souls and now their bodies are on sale. These are the people who have compromised with the devil because of power. Meghalaya is now the testing ground for what will happen in future. If Meghalaya surrenders, the whole country will surrender.”

Others who have campaigned for Congress include former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and former minister KC Joseph from Kerala.

The Congress, which has been facing strong anti-incumbency, has focused on communal issues, as it realizes that it cannot stand on its performance. The issues it raised are – denial of visa to some foreign missionaries and beef ban. Incidentally, there is no ban on cow slaughter or beef consumption in the state.