Tuesday, Sep 21 2021 | Time 13:43 Hrs(IST)

Mizo Church body expels one BJP candidate, another nominee remains 'unfazed'

Mizo Church body expels one BJP candidate, another nominee remains 'unfazed'

By Nirendra Dev
New Delhi/Aizawl, Oct 30 (UNI) In quite a dramatic development in the socio-political sphere of poll-bound Mizoram, a former pastor and BJP candidate Rev L R Colney has been expelled by the Mission For Christ (MFC), a well-known para church in Mizoram.
He was executive member of the body and a "full time missionary".
"This is a surprising decision and reflects double standards as the MFC has not taken any action against MNF candidate R Lalthangliana, who is also executive member of the MFC," Rev Colney told UNI over phone.
But Rev Colney, who is contesting from Aizawl East I assembly segment, hastened to add, he is serious about the election. "I am very much serious about the election. This expulsion seems only a part of politics. I am confident of winning and we, the BJP will do extremely well in November 28 polls," Rev Colney said.
In the first list released by the BJP, among the 13 nominees, two were former pastors. Another BJP pastor-turned-BJP candidate Rev H Lalruata, who is locked in a triangular contest from Lunglei East seat against sitting Congress legislator Joseph Lalhimpuia and the MNF nominee Lawmawma Tochhawng, when contacted said: "I am unfazed by what has happened with our friend Rev Colney. In my case, there is no problem".
Rev Lalruata said said he is a member of the United Pentecostal Mission and even his organisation colleagues "appreciate" his decision to join BJP and fight elections on the saffron party ticket.
"We want to work for development of Mizoram. My Lunglei town is in the north east corner not far from international border and is starved of development. BJP wants to work for development," he remarked.
Meanwhile, the Mission for Christ was on defensive trying to justify action against Rev Colney of the BJP but not initiating any step against another MFC member Lalthangliana, who is also contesting election on regional party MNF ticket.
"There is no politics. Colney is like my son but our supporters have not understood him. Moreover, he is a full time missionary and cannot take part in politics," said MFC president Rev Lalchungnunga .
Moreover, he said, the MNF Lalthangliana is "only an executive member" while Colney is a full-time missionary.
"We were shocked by the fact that our executive member and a missionary Rev Dr L R Colney was one of the selected candidates of the BJP," the statement from Mission from Christ said.
Rev Colney maintained, he does not mind the action against him and asserted his decision to serve the people will continue.
"I am the founder president of the Restoration India Mission (RIM) and we are working in various parts of India including Odisha, West Bengal and parts of Chhattisgarh".
To a question, he said it will be erroneous to describe BJP as "anti-Christian". Moreover, he claimed in effect anti conversion laws were legislated in a number of states including Madhya Pradesh when the Congress was in power at the Centre and also in some of those states.
He said the state government of Odisha under regional party Biju Janata Dal had failed sometimes to "protect the Christians".
Last week, Rev Colney said BJP coming into political reckoning in predominantly Christian stronghold Mizoram will be like "heavenly blessings" for the development of the north eastern state.

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