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Meet the three women ministers in just sworn in 3 NE state govts

First Published: 8th March, 2023 13:35 IST

While Salhoutuonuo Kruse became the first-ever woman minister of Nagaland, Meghalaya's longest-serving woman MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh remains the lone female face among the 12 Meghalaya Cabinet ministers and Santana Chakma

Three women have been inducted as ministers in the three northeastern state cabinets—one each for Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Tripura. What could be a better way to celebrate International Women’s Day in the Northeast than celebrating women’s empowerment, giving women their rightful place and status and office?

While Salhoutuonuo Kruse of NDPP became the first-ever woman minister of Nagaland, Ampareen Lyngdoh, Meghalaya’s longest-serving woman MLA, has once again become the lone female face among the 12 Meghalaya Cabinet ministers sworn in yesterday (March 7), BJP leader Santana Chakma has been inducted as Cabinet minister in Tripura today. She was sworn in as Tripura Cabinet minister today along with 8 other ministers from BJP and IPFT.

The decision of the NPP led by Conrad Sangma to pick its MLA Ampareen for a ministerial berth in the Meghalaya cabinet, the Nagaland NDPP’s (led by Neiphiu Rio) decision to pick Kruse as one of the cabinet ministers of the state, and Tripura BJP’s (led by Manik Saha) to pick Santana Chakma, underlines and highlights how the region is committed and is working towards enhancing women empowerment by granting women the same rights as men, and demonstrating in letter and spirit that the phrase “women empowerment” is more than just a buzzword.

Salhoutuonuo Kruse as Nagaland minister:

Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu, also from NDPP, were the two women candidates to have won the Nagaland elections this time.

Kruse and Jakhalu had created history by becoming the first-ever women to have won Nagaland Assembly polls and get elected as MLAs.

Nagaland had 13 Assembly polls but had never elected a single woman as MLA despite the fact that many women candidates were in the fray.
BJP’s Kahuli Sema and Congress’s Rosy Thomson were the other two candidates but they did not win.
Kruse won the Western Angami seat by defeating Independent candidate Keneizhakho Nakhro by 7 votes.
Kruse has served as president and advisor of the Angami Women Organisation. Her late husband Kevisekho Kruse had been an NDPP candidate from the Western Agami seat in 2018. He, however, had lost to the NPF’s Keneizakho Nakhro. Kruse is also a businesswoman and a well-known hotelier in Nagaland.

Ampareen Lyngdoh as Meghalaya minister:

For Ampareen Lyngdoh, the 58-year-old veteran Meghalaya politician, this would be her third term as a minister. She has served as the Labour Affairs, Information Technology, Information & Broadcasting, Housing, Urban Development Affairs, and Housing minister from 2013 to 2018, and as Minister for Education from 2009 to 2013 during her tenure as a Congress legislator.
Ampareen, now a NPP leader, contested the 2023 elections from her home turf of East Shillong and won the seat for the fourth time in a row by defeating her nearest rival and debutant, IIM Kolkata graduate Manuel Badwar of the Congress by a margin of 1,711 votes. Ampareen Lyngdoh got a total of 6,637 votes while 4,926 votes were polled in favour of Manuel Badwar.
Ampareen belongs to a family of veteran and well-respected politicians of Meghalaya.
Her father, Late Peter G Marbaniang was Lok Sabha MP from 1989 to 1996, Speaker of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and a Minister in the Government of Meghalaya.
Her elder brother Late RG Lyngdoh, was a popular politician and Meghalaya’s home and education minister.
Ampareen resigned from Congress in December 2022 and immediately joined the NPP.
Ampareen’s sister Jasmine too fought the Assembly elections 2023 for the first time against Meghalaya political heavyweights — TMC president and political veteran of the state, Charles Pyngrope and Jemino Mawtoh of UDP from Nongthymmai but did not win.

Santana Chakma as Tripura Minister:

For the 32-year-old politician, Santana Chakma, this would be her 2nd term as a minister. The two-time MLA from the 59 Pencharthal Assembly Constituency has served as the Minister of Social Welfare and Social Education and Animal Resource Development in Biplab Kumar Deb ministry from 2018-2023.

She contested the 2023 elections and won from Pencharthal seat for BJP with 17,781 votes by defeating Sadhan Kumar Chakma of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) with a margin of 7973 votes.

By Lipika Roy

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