Nagaland ‘reservation’ for women: A measly 1.97 per cent

Nagaland’s uneasiness with women in the political arena is garishly reflected in the final list of nominations to the ensuing State Legislative Assembly.

With only five candidates out of a total of 253, women constituted a measly 1.97 per cent of the total nominations. With scrutiny on February 8 and withdrawal of candidatures till February 12, the final tally may change.

With the major political parties reluctant to fielding more woman candidates, it was left to the new entrant to Nagaland State politics – the National People’s Party (NPP) to put up two women candidates. With a total of 33 NPP candidates, it constitutes 6.06 per cent of their total nominations.

The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and the ruling party at the Centre, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has one each while the 5th candidate is an Independent.

Major player in state politics including the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF), as well as the Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party and the Janata Dal (United) do not have any woman representation.

The five women candidates are Rekha Rose (Independent) from 17 A/C Chizami, Awan Konyak (NDPP) from 47 A/C Aboi, Rakhila (BJP) from 54 A/C Tuensang Sadar-II, Wedie-u Kronu (NPP) from 3 A/C Dimapur –III and Dr K Mangyangpula (NPP) from 51 A/C Noksen.

Apart from Rakhila, who contested from the same constituency and party in 2013, all the others are first time candidates.

The tally of five, however, is an improvement over the 2013 polls where only two women had contested.

With just 20 days left for the elections, the last day of filing of nomination papers witnessed the highest number of nominations on Wednesday. According to Nagaland Post, Mokokchung district led as the highest with 48 candidates who filed nomination papers for 10 Assembly seats.

The 2018 February election will also witness brothers from three families and three districts contesting the elections. Former chief minister Neiphiu Rio (11-Northern Angami-II) and his younger brother Zhaleo Rio (Ghaspani-II) had been members of the 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA). Neiphiu later resigned after winning the lone Lok Sabha seat in 2014. Both Rio brothers will be contesting on NDPP tickets.

Peren district will also witness the Rangkau brothers contesting the elections. While Nagaland chief minister, Taditui Rangkau Zeliang (Peren) will seek re-election, his brother NR Zeliang (Tening) will be contesting his first election. Both are contesting on NPF tickets.

Mokokchung district will also be witnessing two brothers contesting the elections but with separate parties. While retired chief secretary, Alemtemshi Jamir will be contesting from Mongoya and Angetyongpang constituencies as an NDPP candidate, his younger brother and retired director Rural Development department, Metsubo Jamir will be entering the fray for the first time from Mokokchung town as an NPP candidate.

It may be recalled that Governor of Odisha Dr SC Jamir and his younger brother and current DAN minister SI Jamir were the first siblings in Nagaland to contest elections the same year and become members of the house.

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