Nagaland elections: BJP offers Christians free Jerusalem trip if voted to power

Image for representation

Image for representation

Just a few months after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cancelled the subsidised Haj pilgrimages for all the Muslims, the party now seems to be shifting its focus to three north-eastern states - Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura, where the elections are scheduled to take place later this month.

Nagaland is one of India's smallest states, with just under two million people, of whom 88% are Christian. However, it still remained unclear if the offer was limited only to Christians living in the state or across the country.

"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.

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".

"We believe in empowerment without appeasement..." Development with dignity is what we believe in.

Meanwhile, firing cannons at the BJP over their offer, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi said that BJP will continue with the subsidy of its political gains.

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.

The local affiliate of the Congress Party, not to be outdone, is also offering a trip, but - in an apparent effort to show fiscal responsibility - their trip will not be completely free, albeit highly subsidized.

This would not be the first time that countries have bankrolled pilgrimages to Jerusalem.