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Church and Politics in the Recent Nagaland State Election

In a history of sorts, a Christian majority (nominal or otherwise) state elected to power a party allied with the BJP, surprising and shocking many across the country. I don’t mean to add to the rhetoric of fear and loathing. Even the BJP needs to be redeemed with the Gospel, and not hated like a leper. Also, in all fairness it must be pointed out that the apex Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) had launched a “clean election” campaign a year back and various church leaders have been quite outspoken in the media too. But that was not enough to change the outcome though perhaps it enabled a few to vote with their conscience. The election results forces us to ponder upon few questions. First, what has brought about this state of affairs? To call Nagaland a failed state would not be wrong. Despite the people being exempted from the Income Tax and state budget well provided for by the Central government, it has not translated into an efficient government enabling a high standard of living for the people. Second, why has the church in Nagaland not been able to raise Godly leaders despite Christianity being the de facto faith of the people for nearly a century and a half? And lastly, can we do anything about it? Everyone knows democracy is a numbers game but not many are aware of its presuppositions. A democratic polity assumes a well-educated informed citizenry who’ll think beyond affiliations of caste/clan/tribe/community, and in turn will vote for that leader whose vision and promise is to secure the best for all.
When it comes to religious piety, the Naga Christians are second to none. They can fast as much and pray as long and sincerely as anyone else can.
It also presupposes citizens who’ll not be easily swayed by narrow or populist rhetoric, nor sell their vote for money or other personal gains. At some point of time some societies which had been shaped by Biblical values came close to this ideal but clearly this was not manifest in the recent election in Christian Nagaland. K K Sema, a spotless man of proven integrity who retired as an IAS officer – perhaps the most qualified among all the contestants, was not even elected. Everyone could see that despite the call for clean elections, it was money and muscle power all the way.
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