Kohima: The BJP is offering Christians free trips to Jerusalem if elected to power in Nagaland, reported northeastern news outlets.
It’s unclear if the BJP is offering this to all of India’s Christians, or only to Christians in the northeast, or only to Christians in Nagaland. The BJP’s offer comes in the run-up to elections in three northeastern states – Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura – later this month. In Meghalaya, almost 75 percent of the population is Christian. In Nagaland, 88 percent of the population is Christian.
“The BJP has made an election promise to send Christians to Jerusalem on a free trip, if elected to power in Nagaland,” tweeted news outlet WeTheNagas. UNI news agency reported that the free Jerusalem trip has only been offered to Christians in Nagaland.
The BJP’s offer, some said, smacked of hypocrisy and opportunism, especially considering the cancellation of Haj subsidies.
“BJP promise to send Christians on a free trip. I was right, BJP continues with subsidy if it suits its electoral needs. This is (what BJP means by) ‘India first’ “, tweeted AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.
When announcing the end of haj subsidies last month, Union minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the BJP-led Centre believes in empowering the minority community with dignity and not appeasement.
“We believe in empowerment without appeasement…Development with dignity is what we believe in. The haj subsidy will be used for educating girls,” said Naqvi. After this decision was announced, Left party CPM said that they were in principle opposed to subsidies for all religious pilgrimages, but were not in favour of the government abruptly stopping the haj subsidy, considering the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that it should be phased out over a 10-year period.