In a historic move, S Phangnon Konyak, the lone Nagaland MP in the Upper House, has been nominated as one of the vice chairpersons of the Rajya Sabha. This appointment comes as a recognition of BJP’s commitment to women empowerment.
Under the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Rajya Sabha, Chairman Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar nominated Phangnon on the Panel of Vice Chairpersons, effective from July 17. Expressing her gratitude, Phangnon tweeted that she would serve the nation with great humility and strive to do her best.
A Trailblazing Decision:
The nomination of Phangnon as the second Naga woman parliamentarian is a groundbreaking decision, considering the dominance of patriarchy and male chauvinism in Nagaland’s politics. The BJP’s move is seen as a positive step towards promoting gender diversity in the region’s political landscape.
A Troubled Past:
- Phangnon hails from Oting village in the remote and underdeveloped Mon district.
- In 2021, the Modi government and security forces faced criticism for the killing of ‘innocent Konyak mine workers,’ mistaken as Naga insurgents, in Oting village.
- The incident sparked demands for an ‘autonomous territory’ for the Eastern Nagaland region.
Long Road to Female Representation:
- Nagaland had never elected a woman to its state legislature before the 2023 assembly elections.
- However, in this year’s elections, two women candidates from NDPP made it to the assembly, signifying a shift towards more inclusive politics in the state.
Resistance to Women’s Reservation:
- Despite Nagaland’s high literacy rate and English being its official language, the state has opposed the women’s reservation bill, seeking to reserve 33% of legislative and parliamentary seats for women.
- In 1997, the Nagaland Assembly unanimously passed a resolution against the bill, citing it as against Naga tradition.
Current Contempt Proceedings:
- The incumbent state government under Neiphiu Rio leading the NDPP-BJP dispensation is facing ‘contempt’ proceedings in the Supreme Court for defying the apex court’s order related to women’s reservation in urban local bodies.
- Phangnon Konyak’s nomination as Vice Chairperson marks a significant moment for gender representation in Nagaland’s political arena, and it reflects BJP’s commitment to promoting Matri Shakti – women power – in the region.