With barely 10 months left for the State Assembly election, the Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC), a trust body of Baptist denomination announced intensification of its 'Clean Election Movement' (CEM).
Officially launched in 1973 to create awareness among the public not to indulge in corruption during elections and not to sell their vote or accept bribe, the movement gained momentum from the 2003 elections and has been continued till the last 2018 elections in Nagaland, informed convener of NBCC’s CEM, Dr Villo Naleo during a press conference here on Tuesday.
On a query about how the CEM desires to go about in taking forward the movement, the NBCC general secretary Rev Zelhou Keyho said "there has not been an elaborate visible progress, but it is gaining ground slowly".
The outcome may not be as expected but in every election, there are success stories and these are becoming our basis to continue building the movement with the hope that though slow the impact will be greater with passing time, he said.
Unlike the past election, for the 2023 Assembly election, the NBCC launched the clean election campaign through its 20 affiliated and four associate church associations by mid 2021 so that the movement reaches every nook and corner of the state by the time elections are announced, said Rev Keyho.
The clergymen also informed that the clean election campaign this time is part of the 150 years of Christianity in Nagaland on the theme "Celebrating His (God’s) story" which will be celebrated from November 19 to 20 in Kohima.
The activities of CEM are now entering into rural areas and the polling areas intensifying the campaign against malpractices during elections, he said.
The CEM convenor Dr Naleo supplementing Rev Keyho said the movement may not have seen a major impact during the past campaigns, but even if a few of the electorates accept the challenge, it is a success story and the campaigners will not be bogged down by any negativity.
"We... churches and associations to own the movement to take it to the grassroots to create more impact in the coming years,” he said. He also informed the CEM members are collecting the success stories, which would be documented and circulated through various mediums to have greater impact.
Meanwhile, NBCC Youth Secretary N Suhuto Chishi said that as part of heralding the 150 years of Christianity, altogether 150 bikers belonging to 24 associations from all over the state under NBCC will be taking out a bike rally on May 31 and June 1 covering eight districts – Dimapur, Chumoukedima, Kohima, Tseminyu, Wokha, Mokokchung, Zunheboto and Phek.
During the rally, they will have stopovers in the heart of the main town and hold short awareness programmes on clean elections and 150 years of Christianity in Nagaland. In the year 1872 Rev Dr Edward Winter Clark, an American Missionary and his team visited Molongkimong village in Mokokchung leading to conversion of Nagas into Christianity and establishment of the first Church in December the same year.
(With PTI inputs)