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Mizoram: Why women voters are not happy?

November 24, 2008 11:21 IST

Sounds strange but it is a state dominated by women electorate, there are only nine of them seeking mandate despite a request by the recently formed Women Welfare Front (WWF) to give representation to the fairer  sex in the Mizoram legislative assembly.

Of the 205 candidates for the December 2 40-member Mizoram state assembly poll, only nine women are trying out their luck in the fray.

The state has total 6,11,124 electorate of whom females constitute 3,08,84 outnumbering their male counterpart by 6,644 voters.

Leading the small list of women candidates is Lalhlimpui of the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) who is contesting from the prestigious Hrangturzo constituency in Serchhip district and locked in a three-cornered contest against Congress nominee Ronald Sapa Tlau and Mizo Peoples Comference (UDA) contestant Lalthansanga.

Lalhlimpui has the distinction to become the only woman minister in the Laldenga ministry in 1987 when she won the assembly poll becoming the lone woman legislator and went ahead to become the minister of state for social welfare.

Since then the state has not seen any woman entering the state assembly and their representation dwindled in the successive elections.                                                                                           

 Another prominent woman candidate this time is Lalhmingthangi Hmar who is a Zoram Nationalist Party (United Democratic Alliance) candidate and pitted against chief minister Zoramthanga in the prestigious Champhai south seat.

 Being a Presbyterinian church leader who resigned from the secretary of the Presbyterian Women Fellowship, Hmar, a theologian, says she has been "asked by God to serve the people".

Being one of the youngest contestants at 32, Hmar has been able to draw attention of the people in the prestigious and sensitive constituency bordering Myanmar.

C Laldinkimi, a woman Independent candidate from the East Tuipui seat, is a well-known gospel singer whose music videos are often played in the channels of the local TV cable network.

Zothankimi of the Congress is another prominent woman candidate from the prestigious Aizawl West 11 seat and fighting against her is the powerful former chief minister and UDA chief ministerial candidate Brig T Sailo and Lalruatkima of the ruling MNF.

This is the second time Zothankimi is contesting the Assembly polls. She lost to Lalchamliana of the MNF, the current Speaker of the Assembly in Bilkhawthlir constituency in 2003.

The BJP has put up two women candidates, Ramfangzauvi from Kolasib constituency and C. Lalnunziri from the Aizawl North 1. The LJP has also fielded two women with R Lalrinawmi in Kolasib and Lalthuammawii at Lunglei South.

 The Lok Bharati party has put up a woman candidate in the Mizoram-Manipur border Chalfilh constituency.

The first ever woman legislator to get elected to the Mizoram assembly since its inception in 1972 was Thanmawii of People's Conference led by Brig. T. Sailo in 1978 from Serchhip constituency. She again won from Aizawl East seat in 1979.

K. Thansiami, also from PC party won in 1984 and was sitting in the opposition bench as Brig, Sailo's government was defeated by the Congress led by Lal Thanhawla that year.

Lalhlimpuii of the MNF was elected in 1987 to become the first ever woman minister under the chief ministership of the late MNF underground leader Laldenga. Since then no woman occupies a seat in the state legislature and no major political parties have fielded candidates except the Congress which fielded one woman candidate in 2003.

 Former leaders of the Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (MHIP) or Mizo Women's Federation formed an organization called the Women Welfare Front and approached all the major political party leaders asking them to field women candidates for the coming state assembly polls.

Their efforts bore some fruits prompting the MNF, the Congress, the UDA and even smaller parties to put up women candidates.

The MHIP had appealed to its branches all over the state asking all the women voters to cast their votes in favour of women candidates irrespective of party affiliations.

It is yet to be seen whether the womenfolk would really come out in support of the women candidates as the society remains strictly patriarchal.

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