Meet Phangnon Konyak, Nagaland's first woman Rajya Sabha MP
Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) S Phangnon Konyak is all set to become the first woman Rajya Sabha MP from Nagaland as no other candidate filed nomination for the lone seat from the state on Monday when the deadline ended. Notably, Konyak will be the second woman to represent the state in Parliament after Rano Shaiza, who was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1977.
- Konyak is a consensus candidate of the ruling United Democratic Alliance and the first BJP member to represent Nagaland in Parliament.
- This comes at a time when Nagaland is yet to elect a woman MLA even after 58 years of statehood.
- Notably, the tenure of the incumbent Rajya Sabha member from the state, KG Kenye of Naga People's Front, ends on April 2.
Konyak (44) hails from Nagaland's Mon district and is currently the Mahila Morcha President of BJP's Nagaland unit. Before joining BJP in 2017, Konyak had been involved in student activism and social organization. Academically, Konyak holds a master's degree in English Literature from Delhi University (batch of 2002). She did her schooling at Holy Cross Higher Secondary School in Dimapur.
Expressing gratitude to BJP, Konyak told reporters that BJP is a party that believes in "women empowerment and there is a lot of hope in the party." She also urged Naga women to come forward to fight elections, saying, "Women comprise 50% of the electorate. While Naga women have been very actively involved in politics but were not forthcoming to contest the elections."
NPF—a major constituent of the ruling UDA—was keen on fielding its candidate for the seat. However, it backed out at the last moment, saying the party was unable to get the support of 10 MLAs to nominate its candidate. Notably, in the opposition-less 60-member Assembly, NPF is the single largest party with 25 MLAs, while BJP and NDPP have 12 and 21 MLAs, respectively.