Nagaland inches closer to get its first woman Rajya Sabha MP as nominations close

Kohima: Nagaland state BJP unit’s Mahila Morcha president S Phangnon Konyak is now closer to becoming the state’s first woman Rajya Sabha MP as Konyak is the only candidate to file nomination for the election to the council of states.

Nominations for the election closed at 3:00 PM Monday and the state’s BJP mahila morcha chief filed her nomination for the lone Rajya Sabha seat in the state at the Assembly Secretariat in Kohima earlier during the day.

According to the Returning Officer for the election, Khruohituonuo Rio, Konyak’s candidature was proposed by 10 BJP legislators including state BJP chief Temjen Imna Along and deputy chief minister Y Patton.

As per the Election Commission of India (ECI), the last date of making nominations is March 21, and the scrutiny of nominations will be conducted on March 22. The last date for withdrawal of candidatures is March 24.

If Konyak clears scrutiny, she will likely be elected uncontested, and will go down in history to become Nagaland’s first woman Rajya Sabha MP and the second woman parliamentarian after Rano M Shaiza, who was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977 as an independent candidate.

Although Konyak’s candidature seemed assured even ahead of filing the nominations, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) party also mulled over a candidate to contest the polls.

Earlier, NPF president Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu had directed its legislature party to file nomination for Thenucho Tunyi, one of the party’s working presidents. However, no nomination was filed by the party.

Through a written letter on March 19, Liezietsu had written to the NPF Legislature Party (NPFLP) leader TR Zeliang that the candidature for the lone Rajya Sabha seat in the state can be nominated only by members of the legislative Assembly.

Following an emergency meeting of the NPFLP members at the Assembly complex on Monday, the legislators refused to file a nomination from the party to further maintain its alliance with the BJP and Rio led Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).

With the formation of the opposition-less government under the banner of the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), which was formed on the pretext of the Naga political issue, one MLA from the NPF was inducted into the state cabinet and the NPFLP leader TR Zeliang was appointed chairman of the alliance.

“Under the given situation, the NPFLP cannot file nomination to the Rajya Sabha election which will be tantamount to withdrawal from the coalition government of UDA,” the NPFLP said in a letter to the NPF president.

Signed by NPFLP secretary Chumben Murry, the legislators informed the party president that although it approves that the NDPP and BJP had not taken proper recognition and consultation for nomination to the Rajya Sabha election, the NPFLP reaffirmed its March 18 decision to not file nomination.

Sitting Rajya Sabha member KG Kenye, will retire on April 2.

Interacting with journalists after filling the nominations, Konyak said ““I feel good. There is a lot of optimism. I want to take the aspirations of the people in a practical way and bring about some practical changes with the party.”

In the 2018 Lok Sabha election, NDPP’s Tokheho Yepthomi contested the polls as the BJP-NDPP’s consensus candidate and won the seat. Although Konyak’s candidature was not officially announced as the consensus candidate of the new alliance, CM Rio had also mentioned that his party will respect the alliance.

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