On November 28, the north-eastern state of Mizoram went to polls in 40 of its constituencies. Considered to be a tribal state, women in these tribes play a dominant role. Most of the tribes in the state follow matrilineal descent, which means that tracing of descent is through the female line.
All said and done, it remains a fact that only 15 women out of the 200 candidates are standing for this Legislative Assembly elections. While this is a dismal number, it needs to be noted that this the greatest number in the state’s history, as reported by Firstpost. The closest the state came to this number was when eight women stood for elections some time
More than half of eligible voters in the state are women
More than half of the eligible voters in the state are women. Of the 7,68,181 eligible voters, 3,93,685 are women. Notably, the first woman to hold a ministerial post in the state was Lalhlimpuii Hmar in 1987. It took 30 years for the second woman to be inducted into the Mizoram Council of Ministers, with Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu being appointed to a ministerial post in 2017. Vanlalawmpuii is also only the fourth elected woman legislator in the state.
Talking about the parties’ enthusiasm towards fielding female candidates, BJP leads the race. BJP has given tickets to six women, the highest across the parties. Regional party Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) has fielded two women candidates. The Nationalist Congress Party and Congress have fielded one woman candidate each, while the popular regional party Mizo National Front (MNF) has zero female representation in this elections. Remaining five candidates are from Zoram Thar, an Evangelist political party, as reported by NDTV.
Speaking on the absence of any female representation from MNF, party president Zoramthanga said, “We fielded women candidates in 1987 and we had even a woman minister. But later in our women wing, we don’t have suitable candidate.”
Pink polling booths, which came into existence last year during the assembly elections, made their foray into the Mizoram elections as well. These booths are decorated in pink and are completely manned by women officials.
The special booths are named ‘Dingdi’ after the wildflower found in abundance in the state. Dingdi has also been used by several poets to depict beautiful women, as reported by Moneycontrol. The booths are erected to encouraged female voters.