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In Nagaland, women rejoice as voters perch two female MLA’s in state assembly for the first time

Hekani Jakhalu, the new woman MLA in Nagaland (Image courtesy: Twitter)

For the women in Nagaland, it is a day of celebration. This year’s assembly election results will be etched in history– for the first time, the state has got women MLAs with the win of Salhoutuonuo Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu — both representing the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), which has an alliance with the BJP. The NDPP has won 36 of the total 60 seats.

Despite having 6.55 lakh female voters compared to 6.52 lakh male voters, the state until today had no woman MLA.

While Jakhalu, the 48-year-old lawyer-activist won from Dimapur-III seat, Kruse won the Western Angami AC.

In 1977, Rano M Shaiza was elected to the Lok Sabha and 45 years later S Phangnon Konyak, State President of BJP Mahila Morcha in Nagaland represented the Rajya Sabha. But by and large woman representation in the political spectrum had remained weak.

Unlike many other Indian states, Nagaland, known for being a woman dominated society is also rated high in providing safety and security to women but that has not translated into gender equality. Typically, women have been in charge of family and other domestic issues and the men have dealt with societal and administrative contours.

“This is a great moment for us. We have two women MLAs for the first time. This is the most important aspect as far as I am concerned. Finally women in the state have found voices to represent them,” Jesmina Zeliang, Nagaland’s leading exporter of handicrafts and textile told India Narrative.

While the NDPP-BJP alliance has won comfortably and does not need support of other parties, sources said that they are likely to reach out to the other smaller parties to get them in their fold.

“The mantra is inclusivity and the ruling alliance will do everything to ensure that everyone is on the same page and is working towards the development of the state,” a BJP member said.

Zeliang said that the gains for the NDPP-BJP alliance were primarily due to the focus on infrastructure development and the availability of drinking water to all households. “Availability of drinking water in the state has brought in a big change in the lives of the people. I hope the focus now is on improving the electricity situation,” she said.

Also read: Why BJP’s success in the Northeast state elections is important for India?