Mizoram 2018

Mizoram Assembly Elections 2018: Little room for women

Two women get their fingers marked before voting at a polling station in Aizawl in 2014.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Women comprise 51.25% of the 7,68,181 voters in Mizoram. But the strike rate for women candidates in the Assembly elections has been poor — only four have became MLAs since the first election in 1972.

The Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP), an influential women’s organisation, helped Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu win a byelection in 2014 and eventually become the Minister of State for Sericulture, Fisheries, and Cooperation in Lal Thanhawla’s Congress government.

Ms. Chawngthu would probably not have been considered had Mr. Thanhawla not given up Hrangturzo, one of the two seats he won in 2013.

In the current election, Ms. Chawngthu is one of 15 women contesting but the the only one fielded by the Congress. “The party trusts my ability to win,” she said.

The BJP has fielded six women while the the evangelical Zoram Thar has five woman candidates, the Zoram People’s Movement two and the Nationalist Congress Party one.

The Mizo National Front defended its lack of women candidates. “We did not find a suitable candidate. It is always the smaller, unsure parties that field women,” party president and former Chief Minister Zoramthanga said.

Among his ‘smaller’ parties was BJP, which fielded the most women – three out of six – in 2013 and all forfeited their deposits. In 2008, six of nine women candidates lost their deposit. Six out of seven candidates had a similar fate in 2003.

“We had appealed to all parties in 2013 to field women, but they were not forthcoming. We threw our weight behind Ms. Chawngthu in the 2014 bypoll to make a gender statement, and not show our loyalty to any party [Congress],” MHIP’s finance secretary Thanpuii told The Hindu.

The 44-year-old MHIP’s by-laws say the organisation would try to ensure women are in the legislature.

“This time we appealed to the parties verbally. More importantly, we called out to all our members and women voters to vote for their kind irrespective of parties. At the same time, we urge women to consider a candidate’s credentials,” Ms. Thanpuii said.

November 28, the day of polling in Mizoram, would in a way be a test for the MHIP’s ability to motive women voters for the women candidates.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 9:22:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/mizoram-assembly-elections-2018/mizoram-assembly-elections-2018-little-room-for-women/article25591748.ece

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