Thursday, March 30, 2023

Participation of Naga women in electoral politics

(With special reference to six other North Eastern States)
The recent triumphant entry of two women into the Nagaland Legislative Assembly has also given rise to many, the curiosity to know about the participation of women from Nagaland in the Parliamentary and State elections during the past years.
About 46 (forty six) years ago, in 1977 Smt. Rano M Shaiza, representing UDF party, created history by becoming the first woman from the State to sit in Lok Sabha as a Member of Parliament (through a straight contest with the male counterpart). The incumbent MP is the 3rd MP in line to represent Nagaland State (first being Shri/Dr. S. C. Jamir,1961). Thereafter, on 4. 4. 2022, Smt. Phangnon Konyak, representing BJP party, was sworn in as a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), thereby becoming the first women from Nagaland (uncontested) to sit in the Upper House. She happens to be the 13th in line to represent Nagaland State (first being Shri. M. Vero, 1964). Thus, after a gap of 45 years (since Smt. Rano M Shaiza was elected in 1977), Nagaland could send another woman MP (Rajya Saba) in 2022.
Though the first Nagaland Legislative Assembly election was held in 1964, the participation of women in election took place only from 1982 (5th NLA election). In 1982, the first woman from Nagaland Smt. Rano M Shaiza (IND) participated in the 5th NLA election from the 8 Western Angami Assembly Constituency (Kohima district) but was unsuccessful. There were altogether seven contestants.
During the 6th NLA election held in 1987, Smt. Chubalemla (NNDP) contested from the 22 Arkakong Assembly Constituency (Mokokchung district) but was not elected. There were altogether three contestants. Another woman, namely, Smt. Sibeule (IND) also contested from the 7 Peren Assembly Constituency but could not make it. There were altogether eight contestants.
During the successive three Nagaland Legislative Assembly elections (1989/7th; 1993/8th; 1998/9th) no woman could contest.
However, the urge to participate in election re-ignited amongst the women and thereby contested without any gap from 2003 (10th NLA election) till the 2023 (14th NLA election). In 2003 (10th NLA), Smt. Chubalemla (NPF) contested from the 26 Aonglenden Assembly Constituency (Mokokchung district), but was unsuccessful. There were altogether three contestants. In 2008 (11th NLA), two women contested. Smt. Rosemary Jamir (IND)from 30 Alongtaki Assembly Constituency (Mokokchung district). There were five contestants. The other woman candidate, Smt. Rakhila (NCP) contested from the 54 Tuensang Sadar- II Assembly Constituency. Five contestants were there. Both the women contestants were, however, defeated. In the 2013 (12th NLA election)Dr. Yangerla (IND) contested from the 27 Mokokchung Assembly Constituency, but was unsuccessful. There were three contestants in all. During the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly election held in 2018, five women participated from different constituencies but were all unsuccessful. (1). Smt. Wedie-U Kronu (NPP) from 3 Dimapur- III Assembly Constituency, where altogether four contestants were there. (2). Smt. Dr. K. Mangyangpula (NPP) from 5 Noksen Assembly Constituency (Tuensang district). Five of them contested. (3). Smt. Awan Konyak (NDPP),from 47 Aboi Assembly Constituency (Mon district),having altogether three contestants. (4). Smt. Rakhila (BJP) from 54 Tuensang Sadar- II Assembly Constituency. There were altogether six contestants. (5). Smt. Rekha Rose (IND) from 17 Chizami Assembly Constituency (Phek district). Altogether six contestants were there.
In the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly election held on 27. 2. 2023, out of four women who had contested from four different Assembly Constituencies, two of them were successfully elected for the first time in the history of Nagaland Legislative Assembly). (i). Smt. Hekani Jakhalu (NDPP) contested from the 3 Dimapur- III Assembly Constituency and won. There were five contestants in total. (ii). Smt. Rosy Thomson (INC) contested from 6 Tenning Assembly Constituency (Peren district), but lost. There were altogether six candidates. (iii). Smt. Salhoutuonuo Kruse (NDPP), contested from 8 Western Angami Assembly Constituency (Kohima district) and won. There were two contestants in total. (iv). Er. Kahuli Sema (BJP), contested from 32 Atoizu Assembly Constituency (Zunheboto district) but was unsuccessful. There were altogether two contestants.
Participation of women in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly election started only from 1982 (5th NLA election). At last, in 2023 (14th NLA election), two women were elected through contest. It, therefore, took about 41 years (1982-2023) for Naga women to become LEGISLATORS for the first time.
As per the scanty records available, the other six Sister-States of North Eastern Region are all forerunners in the matter of women entry into the State Legislatures. The year of Women’s entry into their respective Legislatures as MLAs (after it attained Statehood / while it was still under Union Territory) may roughly be summarized as follows: (1). Assam:1952; (2). Tripura:1972; (3). Meghalaya: 1972; (4). Arunachal Pradesh:1978; (5). Mizoram:1978; (6). Manipur: 1990.
Be that as it may, the maiden entry of the Hon’ble Women from Nagaland into the Lok Sabha (in March 1977-); Rajya Sabha (in April 2022-);and Nagaland Legislative Assembly (in March 2023-) will ever be remembered as three milestone achievements.
Mr. A. M. Toshi Jamir,
Director (Rtd) GON.

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