Nagaland Elections: Will 2023 be different for women candidates

From 1969-2018, 21 female candidates have stood for NLA election without success

Morung Express News
Dimapur | February 26

When women in Nagaland first entered the electoral fray in 1969, the performances of two women candidates were promising. 

Ravole U representing United Front of Nagaland (UFN) from Western Angami Assembly Constituency (AC) collected 32.60% of the votes polled, while the other candidate RL Kinghen (IND) from Bhandari AC managed to gather 37.07% of the votes. 

The path thereafter, however, has not been very promising with many factors continuing to deny even a single seat for women in the 60-member Nagaland Legislative Assembly so far.  

As per election reports maintained by the Election Commission of India (ECI), a total of 21 women candidates have stood for Assembly election in Nagaland. In 2023, 4 women among 183 candidates are in fray for 59 seats. One candidate has been already declared elected unopposed. 

However, records suggest that one Rhakila has contested thrice, while two other have appeared to have contested twice each, taking down the total to from 21 to 17 till 2018. 

With 4 candidates in 2023, the number rose to 21. 

After 1969, no woman contested till 1982, when Rano M Shazia, the only woman from Nagaland to be elected directly either to Parliament or the State Assembly, stood from Western Angami AC as an independent candidate but managed to collect only 9.68% of the votes polled. In 1977, she was elected as Member of Parliament to the Lok Sabha. 

In 1987, again three women contested where Chubalemla as a Naga National Democratic Party candidate collected a respectable 27.35% of the votes. 

She seems to have contested under – Aonglenden AC in 2003 in a Naga People’s Front (NPF) ticket, while in 1993, Kinghen or her namesake stood as a Congress candidate from Tyui AC.

In 2008, in her first electoral fray, Rakhila contesting in a Nationalist Congress Party ticket came closest to winning a seat from 54 Tuensang Sadar-II AC after polling 41.56% of the votes. However, her subsequent venture as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate from the same constituency in 2013 and 2018 were less successful with the votes share below 25%. 

The highest women candidates were witnessed in 2018 election when 5 women contested. 

Incidentally, it was also in 2018, when Awan Konyak, contesting in a Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party from Aboi AC ‘narrowly’ missed the magic figure after managing to garner 45.95% of the votes polled in her favour.

Accordingly, all eyes are on the four women candidates in fray for the February 27 polls, as Nagaland awaits its first woman to be voted to power in the State Assembly.