BJP’s S Phangnon Konyak is all set to become the first woman Rajya Sabha member from Nagaland as no other candidate filed nomination for the March 31 election to the lone seat from the state on Monday, which was the last day.
Konyak, the consensus candidate of the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA), will also be the first BJP member from Nagaland to be sent to Parliament.
Naga People’s Front (NPF), which had expressed “strong determination” to field a candidate despite being a part of the UDA — which runs an opposition-less government in the state, backed out at the last moment.
In the 60-member assembly, NDPP has 21 MLAs, NPF 25, BJP 12 and there are two Independent MLAs all of whom joined hands in September 2021 to form UDA for facilitating an early solution to the vexed Naga political dialogue.
On Saturday, NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu had written to its legislature party to consider nominating its working president and former home minister Thenucho Tunyi for the election.
However, the working committee and the legislative wing of the NPF failed to come to a conclusion till Sunday, party sources said.
On the letter by Liezietsu, NPF’s legislature party secretary Chumben Murry said, “The UDA government was formed on the understanding of pursuing Naga political issue for a negotiated solution at the earliest. Consequent upon which one of the NPF MLA was inducted in the Cabinet along with chairman UDA.
“Under the given situation, the NPF cannot file nomination to the Rajya Sabha election which will tantamount to withdrawal from the coalition government of UDA.”
As NPF refrained from filing nomination, Konyak — the BJP women’s wing’s state president — was the only candidate to have filed nomination, thus securing her seat without a contest.
She will also be the second Naga woman parliamentarian.
Since statehood in 1963, Nagaland got only one woman parliamentarian, Rano M Shaiza, who was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977. The state never had a woman MLA.
The tenure of the incumbent Rajya Sabha member from Nagaland, KG Kenye of NPF, ends on April 2.
Speaking to reporters, an elated Konyak expressed gratitude to the BJP for nominating her. “BJP is a party which believes in women empowerment and there is a lot of hope in the party,” she said.
Asked about her priorities as the first woman Rajya Sabha member from the state, she said she would decide on it after deliberating with the elected representatives of the state.
“Women comprise 50 percent of the electorate. While Naga women have been very actively involved in politics but were not forthcoming to contest the elections,” she said, urging them to come forward to fight elections.
BJP Nagaland president Temjen Imna Along said that his party got the Rajya Sabha seat as part of an agreement with NDPP, ahead of the 2018 assembly elections.
“We look forward to working more for women empowerment in the days to come,” said Along, adding that there were nine ticket hopefuls but only the woman candidate was selected by the party’s central leadership. PTI