S. Phangnon Konyak's election should be easy as three political parties, the BJP, NDPP of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and NPF, are part of the ruling combine in the state.
New Delhi: It is certainly a major political move and a key message on the empowerment of women. The BJP has nominated its Nagaland unit Mahila Morcha chief Ms S. Phangnon Konyak for the ensuing polls to the lone Rajya Sabha seat from Nagaland.
"Congratulations to BJP Mahila Morcha Nagaland State President [email protected] for being declared as Rajya Sabha candidate. This shows BJP's focus on empowering Women leaders in the party. I thank PM Narendra Modi ji, J P Nadda Ji, Amit Shah ji and B L Santhosh ji for this decision," tweeted BJP all India Mahila Morcha chief Vanathi Srinivasan.
"Thank you Akka @VanathiBJP for the wishes and grateful to BJP leadership for giving an ordinary karyakarta like me,such a great privilege," said Ms Phangnon Konyak in her missive.
The 44-year-old Ms Konyak has a Master's in English literature and hails from the Chingai ward of Mon town. Her election should be easy as three political parties, the BJP, NDPP of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and NPF, are part of the ruling combine in the state. Opposition parties such as Congress or NPP do not have any MLA in the House.
"Heartfelt congratulations to Smt @phangnon, President of Mahila Morcha Nagaland on being selected as the candidate for the biennial election to the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) from Nagaland. Her candidacy is well deserved, and I wish her the very best," tweeted Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio also congratulated S. Phangnon Konyak and said, "I wish you the best for the upcoming elections and for all your future endeavours".
Nagaland, though known as a progressive state with a high education rate and English being the state's official language, has a reputation of not sending/electing any woman legislator to the state assembly since statehood in 1963.
Only in the 1970s, Ms Rano Shaiza was elected as Nagaland MP to the Lok Sabha as a UDF candidate riding the post Emergence wave.
The Nagaland BJP, in their recommendation paper submitted to the central leadership, has said the special committee of party leaders has made the recommendations while trying to respect 'regional dynamics' in the state of Nagaland.
All the four names were from the development-starved Mon-Tuensang region and included two from Konyak tribes in Mon district and two others from Tuensang district.
Observers say the socio-political fabric favours men over women in Nagaland-to the extent that the state is still waiting for the first female legislator in the state assembly. Even the women's quota for urban local bodies was strongly opposed initially.
By and large, the 33 per cent reservation for women in state legislatures was also opposed in the 1990s when the demand for the quota bill was at its peak. The influential Naga Students' Federation had written to the parliamentary select committee chairperson Geeta Mukherjee, saying the bill went against Naga tradition.
The Nagaland assembly in 1997 during Congress rule also passed a unanimous resolution moved by the then parliamentary affairs minister Zhove Lohe opposing the women's quota bill in state legislatures.
Even in Mizoram, the electors have generally favoured menfolk in comparison to women.
Addressing a workshop of Mizoram legislators in 2009 in Delhi, the first female speaker of Lok Sabha, Meira Kumar, had underlined that it was high time for the northeastern state to have woman MLAs.
Mizoram's only female minister so far has been Lalhlimpui, who was elected to the assembly in 1987 and became a member of the cabinet in the MNF regime under Chief Minister Laldenga, a former rebel leader.
After Lalhlimpui, only after a 27 years break in 2014, Ms C. Lalawmpuii won the Hrangturzo assembly by-election as a Congress nominee.