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Mizoram elections: Why are political parties reluctant to field women candidates?

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Aizawl, Nov 20: Almost all political parties, including MNF, Congress and ZPM have rightly raised their voices when it comes to reservation for women. But a reality check at the number of tickets given to candidates in the upcoming Mizoram elections shows a different story. Of the 209 candidates in the fray of November 28 polls, there are just 15 women.

PTI file photo

While the outgoing government's minister Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu is fighting on a Congress ticket, two women are contesting for the Zoram People's Movement (ZPM). The NCP has given ticket to only one woman. The powerful Mizo National Front (MNF) has not fielded any woman candidate for the election. Zoram People's Movement (ZPM), a new regional outfit, has two women in its list.

The only exception is the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has fielded six women candidates. But since the party isn't a major player in the Christian-majority state, it remains to be seen how many of them are able to emerge winners.

Assembly elections: How Mizoram voted in 2013

Mizoram was declared a state in 1972. But in its 46-year history, only four women have won election the assembly.

Vanlalawmpuii is the fourth elected woman legislator in the state ever - the first being Thanmawii, elected way back in 1978. Another woman politician, Lalhlimpuii Hmar, who was elected on a Mizo National Front (MNF) ticket in 1987, was the first woman minister in the state.

Twentyseven years later - in the 2014 by-poll - Vanlalawmpuii broke the jinx of women losing election after election in the state. Three years later, she was inducted into Chief Minister Lalthanhawla's ministry, becoming the second woman minister in the state in its history.

Mizoram elections: Can Congress retain the only NE state it is in power?

Notably, in the 2011 Census, the population of women in Mizoram was still less than that of men, the sex ratio being 976 (out of 1,000). In the electoral rolls of 2013, 2014 and 2018, the number of female electors outnumbered the males, the latest being 1,051 women electors to 1,000 men. According to the reports, Mizoram has a total voter of 7,68,181 persons, of which 3,74,496 are males and 3,93,685 females his year.

Barring Mamit district, the remaining seven districts of Kolasib, Aizawl, Champhai, Serchhip, Lunglei, Lawngtlai and Siaha have higher number of female voters than male electorate.

MNF president Zoramthanga told PTI, "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."

The assistant professor of the Regional Institute of Paramedical and Nursing Sciences (RIPANS) R Lalawmpuii said that women in Mizoram had never thought about the issue seriously as it was their mindset that politics was for men only.

Lalawmpuii, however, said that given a chance she would take part in politics as she felt that young women should join politics.

In all, there are 201 candidates in the state which goes to poll on November 28 to elect members for the 40-member Assembly.

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