KOHIMA, March 2 (PTI): History was scripted in Nagaland on Thursday when the state elected its first women legislators in its 60 years of statehood.
The two women lawmakers – Hekhani Jakhalu and Salhoutuonuo Kruse of the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) are greenhorns in politics but defeated the sitting MLAs in Western Angami and Dimapur-III seats respectively.
By virtue of the result of her constituency being declared earlier in the day, Jakhalu became the first woman MLA in the Nagaland Assembly.
She defeated her nearest rival and sitting MLA Azheto Zhimomi of the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) by 1,536 votes.
“The victory is not mine alone, it belongs to my people who trusted me with their hopes and aspirations. I dedicate this victory to God and pledge to serve my constituents with honesty and integrity,” Jakhalu tweeted.
A lawyer by education and social entrepreneur by profession, she is also the founder and chair of YouthNet Nagaland, an organisation working for the uplift of educated unemployed youth in the state to pursue entrepreneurship.
Talking to media persons after receiving the winning certificate from the Kohima District Election Officer, 56-years old Salhoutuonuo Kruse said her win is an opportunity to show that women can play an important role in the decision making body of the government for the welfare of the people. “I am feeling happy and thankful to God and the people for providing me the opportunity to be an elected representative,” she said while commenting on defeating the sitting MLA Keneizhakho Nakhro by seven votes.
In the straight fight in Western Angami seat of Kohima district, Kruse, who is the nominee of the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), polled 7,078 votes while the sitting MLA and Independent candidate Nakhro got just seven votes less.
“It is all God’s providence as the margin was very thin and also the support of the people that I got elected,” she said.
On her priority as the first time woman MLA in the state, Kruse said she will try to help the government by playing an important role in the decision making process for the general welfare of the people.
Kruse is the widow of Kevisekho Kruse, a retired government employee who had contested the last Assembly poll on a NDPP ticket from the same seat but lost.
She had served as the president of the influential Angami Women Organisation and also as the executive in Angami Public Organisation, an apex tribal body here.
The two other women candidates in the fray for the Assembly election were Kahuli Sema of BJP and Rosy Thompson of Congress. Sema contested against sitting MLA Picto in Atoizu and lost by 102 votes. Thompson fought against sitting MLA Namri Nchang and four others in Tening seat at Pereng district.