Nagaland women ignore protests, file nomination for election
Kohima: Five women have filed nomination papers for the upcoming state assembly election in Nagaland, a northeastern Indians state that witnessed explosive protests a year ago over women’s reservation in urban civic bodies.
This year will see the highest number of Naga women registered in assembly elections in “at least the last 20 years,” state chief electoral officer Abhijit Sinha told The Times of India.
If elected, Awan Konyak, Rakhila, Dr K Mangyangpula, Wedie-U Kronu and Rekha Rose Dukru will become the first women representatives in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly since its creation in 1963.
Women’s participation in politics has been a hot-button issue for a while in Nagaland.
Last year, the issue of 33 percent women’s reservation in overwhelmingly male civic bodies led groups such as Naga Hoho (comprising representatives from 16 tribes) to take to the streets and call for a boycott of the elections, ostensibly because the Naga Mothers Association had filed a case in the Supreme Court demanding the reservation of seats for women without consulting “Naga society” beforehand.
These protests grew so violent that two people were killed and 21 government buildings set on fire, and Chief Minister T R Zeliang was finally forced to resign.
The state cabinet also decided to submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister, asking him to amend the Constitution through an ordinance, thereby keeping Nagaland out of the purview of the states required to give 33 percent reservation to women.
Political observers say the women candidates are on the brink of making history at a charged time.
Nagaland goes to poll on February 27.