KOHIMA: In a bid to push for more female representation in state politics, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio affirmed that Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections will be held with a 33% reservation for women once the Nagaland Municipal Bill 2023 is approved.
Addressing a general body meeting of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) at the State Banquet Hall on Saturday, CM Rio expressed that the new bill has already incorporated the 33% women reservation clause.
Earlier this year, following the repeal of the Nagaland Municipal Act of 2001, the state assembly introduced the fresh Nagaland Municipal Bill 2023 and subsequently, the bill was forwarded to a seven-member select committee for thorough examination and scrutiny.
The Chief Minister’s speech resonated with a spirit of gender equality and empowerment, highlighting the society’s desire to see women take on pivotal roles, acknowledging their capabilities. “Discussion on gender equality and women empowerment is now coming to a reality,” Rio mentioned.
The state’s journey towards women reservation, however, has been tumultuous. In 2017, Nagaland witnessed severe protests against the ULB elections offering 33% reservation for women. The dissent led to the unfortunate loss of two lives and significant vandalism of public properties. Many groups opposed these elections, asserting they flouted the special provisions of Nagaland under Article 371(A) of the Constitution.
Nevertheless, this fresh direction by the government comes after a momentous event in March, when two women were historically elected to Nagaland’s 60-member Assembly. Consequently, plans were announced to hold elections for 39 urban local bodies, ensuring a 33% reservation for women, marking a significant stride in the state’s efforts to empower women in governance.