‘Historic’ ULB Election Signals A Shift In Political Landscape In Nagaland - Eastern Mirror
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EM Exclusive, Nagaland

‘Historic’ ULB election signals a shift in political landscape in Nagaland

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Jun 27, 2024 12:27 am
ULB
Sibeule

KOHIMA — Nagaland marked a significant step towards greater inclusivity in decision making on Wednesday with the conduct of the urban local body (ULB) election.

This election, the first in two decades, saw the implementation of a 33% reservation for women across 24 municipalities and town councils.

This historic election, a culmination of years of advocacy and legal battles, represents a watershed moment for women’s political participation in Nagaland. It saw 198 female candidates contesting for seats.

A total of 24 women were elected unopposed, including one from an unreserved ward.

An acceptance of women’s leadership

Eastern Mirror spoke to Dr. Rosemary Dzüvichu, Advisor of the Naga Mothers Association (NMA), who was also a petitioner in the case and played a pivotal role in materialising the rights of women. She said that the election is a very special occasion for Naga women, as after so many years of struggles, Nagas are finally seeing many women participating in the electoral process.

She stressed the importance of younger women’s participation in the election, stating that they are more educated and have broader exposure.

Dzüvichu also opined that conducting the election is important for Naga society, as it is also an acceptance of women’s leadership within the society.

Stating that the NMA is delighted about the election being held, she went on to say that members of the Joint Action Committee on Women Reservation are also celebrating the occasion and the fact that their struggles have been won.

She expressed hope that the women who are elected would perform well, emphasising their role as examples for younger women to follow. She stressed the importance of this for future generations.

Dzüvichu emphasised that the Supreme Court case was instrumental in making the municipal election possible, though many in Naga society do not realise it.

She acknowledged the role of the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), who fought the case to its conclusion after the Joint Action Committee on Women Reservation withdrew, and placed on record her gratitude to the PUCL.

Because of them, so many young men are also able to come into the municipal election to clean up and streamline the towns and municipalities, she added.

Furthermore, she stressed that the ULB election held greater significance than even the assembly elections due to the increased number of candidates and broader participation. She underscored the importance of encouraging all candidates, irrespective of party affiliations.

Reservation should have been implemented long ago

Meanwhile, independent candidate for Ward 9 in the Kohima Municipal Council (KMC), Neikeleno Zhasa (Nino), who is in the fray along with two men– one independent and the other from the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP)– in the an unreserved ward, commended the role played by women leaders like Padma Shri Neidonuo Angami and Dr. Rosemary Dzüvichu.

Stating that “this is the right time” for change, Nino asserted that she is here to make a change and be the voice of people who were not heard.

Although she isn’t contesting in a ward that is reserved, the independent candidate, when asked about the impact of the 33% women’s reservation on the political landscape, expressed that it should have been implemented long ago.

Nino went on to say that she wants to break the glass ceiling and exuded hope that, in the future, more women will follow suit.

The oldest candidate was an 81-year-old from Ward 5 (Chozuba), while the youngest male candidate was a 25-year-old from Ward 5 (Tseminyu). The youngest female candidate was a 22-year-old from Ward 1 (Bhandari), and the oldest was a 71-year-old from Ward 6 (Peren).

Mozhui’s resolve for reforms

This newspaper reached out to the youngest female candidate, Nzanrhoni I Mozhui from Ward 1 (Bhandari), which is a reserved seat, who is running with a BJP ticket, to inquire about her inspiration for entering politics.

ULB
Nzanrhoni I Mozhui

Mozhui said that she wants to bring about societal and governance reforms in society. She also aspires to bring about change to address gender disparities and work towards creating a more inclusive society.

“One personal experience that motivates me to seek a leadership role is to bring about change in society,” she said. She added that the main challenge she faced was inspiring and motivating members and followers to embrace her leadership.

She maintained that cultivating diverse and inclusive leadership is essential for addressing gender bias and opined that creating mentorship programmes, leadership development initiatives, and networking opportunities for women can help overcome gender bias.

Mozhui asserted that implementing quotas and reservation systems like the 33% reservation for women in ULB election in Nagaland can provide a necessary initial push to increase women’s representation in politics.

Furthermore, she acknowledged her people for all the support and trust, adding that this election has shown the power of community coming together.

“Regardless of the outcome, let us unite to move forward, embracing our shared values and working together towards a better future for all,” she remarked.

Women and men equally gifted

Meanwhile, the oldest female candidate, 71-year-old Sibeule, who is an NDPP candidate for the unreserved Ward 6 in Peren Town, said the 2024 ULB election is a historic day for the Nagas and a victory for women.

She emphasised that women and men are equally gifted, stating that she believes women can achieve parity with men. She stressed the importance of increased participation in decision-making and making significant contributions to the community despite facing challenges.

Furthermore, she added that this election is an opportunity to bring a wealth of experience and perspective to local governance, which can be invaluable in addressing community needs and advancing development initiatives.

Also read: Prohibitory orders to be imposed till June 28 in Dimapur, Chümou, Niuland districts

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Jun 27, 2024 12:27:54 am
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