The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party created history on 2 March 2023 as both of the two women candidates it fielded in the just concluded assembly elections emerged victorious, becoming the first ever women to be elected to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly.
The electorates of 3-Dimapur-III Assembly Constituency elected Hekani Jakhalu over her closest opponent and sitting MLA Azheto Zhimomi of Lok Janshakti Party by 1536 votes making her the first woman to be declared elected to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly after 60 years since Nagaland attained statehood in 1963.
Jakhalu secured 14,241 votes defeating Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) candidate Azheto Zhimomi who got 12,705 votes.
Hekani Jakhalu is the founder of YouthNet Nagaland, an NGO which assists youths of Nagaland to pursue business opportunities.
In 2018, she was awarded the Nari Shakti Puraskar award for empowering women, unemployed youth, and dropouts to build skills and find employment.
During her pre-poll declaration, she stated that she is running primarily for youth, women, the minority community, and making Dimapur-III a model constituency.
Minutes after Hekani Jakhalu was declared the first woman to be elected to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, NDPP’s Salhoutuonou Kruse from 8-Western Angami Assembly Constituency was declared elected as she defeated Independent candidate and sitting MLA Keneizhakho Nakhro by a margin of just 7 votes. Kruse had received 7078 votes while Nakhro had received 7071 votes.
Earlier, in the 2018 general elections, Nakhro had defeated Salhoutuonou Kruse’s late husband Er. Kevisekho Kruse.
Kruse stated her vision for equal infrastructure development and representation of urban and rural areas, youth and women empowerment, skill development and employment, improving people’s quality of life by enhancing good governance, peace, and security, and creating a model constituency in her pre-election declaration.
Although 4 women contested in the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly elections, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Er Kahuli Sema from 32-Atoizu Assembly Constituency and Indian National Congress’s Rosy Thomson from 6-Tening Assembly Constituency could not register wins.