ITANAGAR: The number of women contestants in Arunachal Pradesh are increasing.
A total of 11 women are contesting polls for the 60-member assembly this time, while the figure was four less in the 2014 elections.
One of the two Lok Sabha seats in the state also has a woman candidate who is a greenhorn.
With nine first time contestants in both assembly and Lok Sabha, this is the highest number of women candidates in the state till date.
There were seven women contestants in 2014 elections and one of them won.
Simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly elections will be held in the Northeastern state on April 11.
Of the 11 assembly poll contestants, the Congress has fielded five women candidates, the ruling BJP nominated three, while the People's Party of Arunachal (PPA) and the (JDU) selected one each.
It is encouraging to see a large participation of women in elections this time, but more women need to come forward and participate in nation-building exercise, Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW) Chairperson Radhila Chai Techi said.
"We are committed to create a political space for women in the state," Techi added.
Of the three candidates not new to electoral politics, Dasanglu Pul and Gum Tayeng of the BJP are seeking re-election from their seats while former minister Komoli Mosang is contesting the poll as a Congress candidate.
Several of these 12 candidates are focusing on empowerment of women to give their dues in the tribal society of the state.
"My focus will be on peace, development, transparency and justice to women. I will fight for their rights in the society," Komoli, Congress nominee for Nampong assembly constituency, said.
"Women empowerment will be my main agenda," another Congress candidate Yaman Tatak Bagra who is contesting from Along West seat, said.
BJP nominee Dasanglu Pul, wife of former chief minister Kalikho Pul, said "I believe the work I have done for the constituency in a short period would reflect on the outcome of the election. Many who doubted my ability as a woman have changed their minds."
Kalikho Pul had committed suicide on August 9, 2016.
After months of intense political developments, Pul had taken over the reins of the state on February 19, 2016 but had to relinquish the job following a Supreme Court order in July.
Dasanglu Pul had won the by-election from Hayuliang assembly seat as a BJP candidate.
Gum Tayeng was elected unopposed as a Congress nominee from Dambuk in a by-election in 2013 following the death of her husband - then sitting MLA Jomin Tayeng.
She also retained the seat in 2014 assembly polls.
JD(U)'s Jarjum Ete, former APSCW chairperson, is contesting the poll from Arunachal West Lok Sabha seat.
Dipti Bengia, president of a women's organisations of Arunachal, said the women in the state have realised they are capable enough in all fields including politics.
"They (women) have volunteered to contest the election which is a good sign in a male-dominated society of the state. The women can manage their families and they can also shine in politics. The society should support and encourage them to prove their mettle," said Bengia, president of the Arunachal Pradesh Women Welfare Society.
Arunachal Pradesh voted several women representatives to the state assembly in the past.
Sibo Kai was the first woman legislator after she was nominated to the assembly in 1978 when the state was a union territory.
Nyari Welly was the first elected woman MLA of the state when she won on a PPA ticket in 1980.
She was re-elected in 1984 as a Congress candidate.
Other woman MLAs include O M Deori (1990), Yadap Apang (1995), Mekup Dolo (1999), Niani Natung (2001), Yari Dulom (2002), Nang Sati Mein and Karya Bagang (2009).
Some of these legislators won in by-elections.