4th Female Minister in 30 long years
Mizoram decided to induct a woman minister in the state cabinet, at a time when political parties are working to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament to make it mandatory to reserve 33 per cent of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies.
The decision to have a woman minister in the state cabinet is historic as Mizoram got its fourth female Legislator after a gap of 30 years. Lalawmpuii Chawngthu a 35 year spinster became the fourth woman in Mizoram to be inducted in the state’s council of ministers since 1987. Lalawmpuii is the daughter of senior Congress leader C. Chawngkunga. She has been active in politics since last 10 years. Governor Lt Gen (Retd) Nirbhay Sharma administered the oath of office to Chawngthu at a function in the Raj Bhavan. Chawngthu, President of the Mizoram Pradesh Youth Congress Committee was elected from Hrangturzo seat in Central Serchhip District in a byelection by a margin of 2,503 votes against her lone rival, Lalduhawma, of the eight-party combine United Democratic Front (UDF). Thanga and Chawngthu were inducted in the council of ministers following the resignation of Labour Minister Lalrinmawia Ralte and Fisheries Minister Buddha Dhan Chakma.
The first woman legislator of Mizoram, K. Thansiami, was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1984 on a Mizoram People’s Conference ticket. She beat veteran politician C. Silvera, who later became Union minister for health. She won by a convincing margin in Aizawl west constituency. The last Mizo woman legislator, Lalhlimpuii was elected as MLA in 1987 and was designated minister of state in the then Laldenga cabinet. Bypoll to the Hrangturzo seat, left vacant by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla was held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls. Lal Thanhawla had won the seat in addition to his traditional Serchhip seat in the november assembly polls last year. Lalawmpuii said, ‘the welfare of the people of her constituency would be her top priority and would pave a wider path for women’s empowerment’.
It is this lack of women representatives in Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies and equally fewer numbers of women ministers in the Union and State cabinets which could clearly be corrected to a great extent by the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha at the earliest. To send a strong message on women empowerment just ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, the central government is actively mulling the possibility of passing the Women’s Reservation Bill at the Parliament.
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