Aizawl: In Mizoram, which strictly followed a patriarchal family, the participation of women in active politics is very minimal and still a far cry as compared to other states despite high literacy rate and women playing key roles in almost all walks of life.
Ironically, in a male dominated society, female voters not only outnumbered their male counterparts by 20,417, but also dominated the male-friendly workplaces.
Of the 209 candidates in state assembly elections held in November last year, only 16 were women and none of them won the polls.
The state has so far seen only two women minister in 32 years. First was Lalhimpuii of Mizo National Front (MNF), who was elected in 1987 and the second women minister was Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu, who was inducted in the erstwhile Lal Thanhawla’s cabinet in 2014.
Ever since 1972, when the tiny tribal state elected its first MP, only one woman candidate has so far contested the parliamentary polls.
While many people considered politics as something “dirty” and most people fight election for power and name, but it is different in the case of Lalthlamuani, the lone and first ever woman contesting the Lok Sabha polls.
She believes that politics is one of the best opportunities to serve the “Lord” as well as the people. The 63-year old Mizo Jewish leader, who filed her nomination on Monday, became the first woman from Mizoram to contest the Lok Sabha polls after her candidature was accepted on the last date of withdrawal on Thursday.
She will be contesting as an independent candidate against five male rivals. Mizoram, which has a total electorate of 7,84,405, goes to the polls on April 11.
In an exclusive interview with EastMojo, Lalthlamuani said she received a “divine call” to contest the polls to save the identity of Mizo Jewish community and Mizo community as a whole. “I was told by the Lord to contest the poll to champion the lost tribe of Israel in India’s parliament. I also contested to educate the status of women among present as well as next generations and also to make the almighty God happy with our nation,” she said.
She said that her main poll agenda is to actively pursue a memorandum submitted to UNO, seeking recognition of Mizo Jewish as the lost tribe of Israel. According to her, the Mizos are the lost tribe of Israel and their voices need to be heard at the centre.
“I will also work for strengthening the Indo-Israel ties to enable the Mizos visit the holy land-Israel as much as possible and also to help develop farmers, whose livelihood has been greatly affected by natural calamities,” she said, if elected to Lok Sabha.
Lalthlamuani, who is currently heading Chhinlung Israel People’s Convention (CIPC), a group fighting for unity of Mizo Jewish community living in different parts of the country, Myanmar and Bangladesh, as vice president, said her main target is female voters and people who believe in Israel origin and Jesus.
She, however, said that she did not go out for campaign. “If God shower his blessing, I will surely win,” the class-X pass out said.
Expressing concern about the minimal women presentation in politics, she said the limited seat as well as misconception about politics as “dirty things” and that it is a “male affairs” could be the reason.
“Mizo women are yet to get interest in politics. I believe it is high time women also played politics with a belief that it is one of the best ways to server God. My candidature will put a big challenge before the women,” she said, adding that she received well support from female voters and Jewish community in the state.
CIPC was founded on July 4, 1994 and is currently having over 1 lakh members across the state.
With the last date of withdrawal ended on Thursday, six candidates are in the fray for Mizoram’s lone Lok Sabha seat.
While the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) has fielded former Doordarshan director general C. Lalrosanga, the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM)-Congress combine fielded a sport journalist, Lalnghinglova Hmar,
The BJP has projected its state vice president and veteran Chakma politician Nirupam Chakma, while the newly floated People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) fielded former sailor TBC Lalvenchhunga.
Lalhriatrenga Chhangte, who had filed criminal case against former chief minister and state Congress president Lal Thanhawla, is also contesting the polls as independent.