In Nagaland, women are at par with men. Be it at home or outside world, women have equal and respectable position in the state. But, when it comes to politics, male seems to have dominated the domain.
Till now, Nagaland has to send a woman as its representative to the state legislative assembly. Moreover, very few women have dared to take the plunge in Naga politics. Those few "brave" women, who have dared to make their presence felt at the political arena, have not got support from the electorates.
This time only two women candidates are contesting the elections. And, both are hopeful for a "radical" change. Rakhila Lakhiumong (BJP) and Yangerla (Independent) are contesting the Assembly elections.
"Naga men love everything about their women, but not enough to let us enter the male bastion, that is, politics. We women are also partly to be blamed. We never tried hard enough to bring down the barriers," says Rakhila, who is fighting the polls on a BJP ticket from Tuensang Sadar-II.
Widow of former minister A Lakhiumong, this is not the first time Rakhila has mustered up the courage to jump into a four-cornered battle, facing male opponents from all sides. In 2008, she fought the ballot battle from the same seat as an NCP candidate, but narrowly lost to her Congress rival.
"I'm yet to accept a defeat. I need to do this for all Naga women. The men don't think we are good enough to sit next to them in the Assembly and it's up to us to prove them wrong," she says. However, she says, not all men are alike. "For instance, men from our locality welcomed my decision and showed full co-operation."
Former director of health and family welfare Yangerla couldn't agree more. A doctor by profession, this Gauhati Medical College and Hospital graduate is contesting the election from Mokukchung town.
The only woman to make it to the Lok Sabha was Rano Shaiza during the post-Emergency Janata Dal era.