With the civic polls in Nagaland around the corner, 185 women out of 536 candidates have filed their nominations, despite the call for boycott of the polls.
90 women who filed their nominations belong to the Naga People’s Front (NPF), 24 to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 11 to the Congress, and the remaining women were all independents.
Back in September 2012, the State assembly in Nagaland had opposed a quota for women in civic bodies. They argued that quota for women violated Article 371 (A) of the Constitution, which guaranteed special status to Nagaland, and called for the preservation of customary laws. Now, more than 4 years later, the matter has come up again. This time, bodies like Naga Hoho (with 16 tribes) took to the streets to oppose the 33 percent quota for women because the Naga Mothers Association had filed a case in the Supreme Court demanding the reservation of seats for women, without any consultation with the “Naga society”.
Their call to boycott the elections came a day before the election office opened to receive nominations. A press statement was even published by Ao Sengden, a body of the Ao Tribe, stating that anybody from the community found participating in the elections would be liable to “questioning and appropriate punishment.” After people went ahead and did file nominations despite this, they have been under pressure to withdraw their nominations by today, or expect to be exiled by their localities.
With this pretty impressive number of women who have filed nominations, like Rosemary Dzuvichu, advisor to Naga Mother’s Association, told Hindustan Times, “We hope the elections are held as scheduled, at least in the councils where nominations have been filed.”