Empowering Women & Local Governance

Vishü Rita Krocha

In August 2016, when the state government made a landmark decision to conduct elections to the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) under Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001 by granting 33% reservation for women, it ignited a ray of hope for the many intending women candidates to start taking part in the decision making bodies.

During the same year, a contending woman candidate— Khazü Dukru by name had said that the chances to win without reservation were very slim and that the 33% reservation would create the much needed base for women.

“Not all women, or even men for that matter, may play their roles efficiently, but give us a chance to prove ourselves” was her appeal. Khazü Dukru was then, a member of the Pfütsero Citizens Welfare Forum and had been actively involved in working towards the welfare of the town. 

However, following the stiff opposition from tribal bodies, the ULB elections with 33% reservation for women did not see the light of day for several years altogether. That ‘ray of hope’ also dimmed for contending women candidate like Khazü Dukru.

But almost a decade later since 2016, she still had the same resolve. And prior to the scheduled civic polls with 33% reservation for women on June 26, she (along with few other women candidates) has already scripted history by winning unopposed from Menyitsuda Colony, Ward 4 in Pfütsero Town.

Needless to say, this year marks another significant milestone in the history of Nagaland state, especially to see a breakthrough with the contentious issue of reservation of seats for women in the Urban Local Bodies election.

The world over, women have always played an important role in imparting leadership, sincerity and commitment to development work. This process of empowering women through the 33% reservation in our state, will also, hopefully bring about a marked change especially in areas that have remained neglected for years and decades.

Regardless of the gender, it is also hoped that there will be peaceful conduct of the ULB elections, and that it will also be ‘free’ and ‘fair.’ And more importantly, that the conduct of the civic polls would bring about the ‘hope’ and ‘change’ that our society needs so much more than it talks about.

Having said that, one cannot emphasize enough about voting right and understanding what his/her precious vote means. It is that one right decision that a voter takes, that makes all the difference! And hence, it is also crucial to remember that our common journey to development also begins with voting.

This is a guest editorial by Vishü Rita Krocha. She is the Publisher of PenThrill Publication and a senior journalist based in Kohima.