The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee has decided that it will support “secular” candidates in seats where it is not contesting the Assembly elections, PTI reported on Monday. The Congress has named candidates for 19 out of the 60 constituencies that will go to polls on February 27.

“The decision is aimed at stopping the Bharatiya Janata Party and its alliance partner from compromising the rights of our people and our way of life,” the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee said in a statement. The committee said it took the decision to save the people of the state from “sinking in the Hindutva quicksand”.

The BJP has got into an alliance with the Nationalist Democratic People’s Party, or NDPP, for the Assembly elections. The saffron party will contest in 20 seats and its ally in 40 seats.

The Congress said it had been working for two-and-a-half years to educate the people about the dangers of Hindutva, the Nagaland Post reported on Sunday. The party added that it was shocked to see the rush of candidates to the BJP.

The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee said the NDPP was “fully aware of how minorities were being persecuted and suffering under the BJP rule [at the Centre]”. It endorsed the Nagaland Baptist Church Council’s statement that the choice for voters was between the trishul (trident) and the cross.