Historic: Salhoutuonuo Kruse becomes Nagaland’s first woman minister
Nagaland attained statehood in 1963 but no woman before Kruse and her fellow party member Hekani Jakhalu has been elected to the Assembly.
GUWAHATI: Just five days after she had created history by becoming one of the first women to be elected to the 60-member Nagaland Assembly, Salhoutuonuo Kruse scripted another history on Tuesday by taking oath as a minister.
Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu went into the annals of the state’s history on March 2 by winning the Assembly polls. Nagaland attained statehood in 1963 but no woman before them has won an Assembly election.
In the 60-member Nagaland House, a maximum of 12 can be inducted into the ministry. Jakhalu was not considered for a ministerial berth. She and Kruse are members of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party.
Kruse, 55, was ecstatic after being sworn in as a minister.
“I am very happy that I have been given this responsibility. I will do what I can and encourage women to be brave, sincere and hardworking so that we can work together and gain whatever we have not gained yet,” she told journalists.
The social worker for the past 24 years won from the Western Angami seat in the Kohima district by only 7 votes.
Recently, she told this newspaper that she faced many challenges as she went to the elections.
“The first challenge, of course, was my decision to contest as no woman ever won the state elections in Nagaland. Then, the Naga society still has a bit of patriarchal mindset,” she had said.
From a tender age, she had the heart to serve society and this was reflected in her association with several NGOs.
Her husband contested once but was not successful. He wanted to contest this election but lost his life to Covid in 2021.
Jakhalu, the US-educated lawyer and social entrepreneur who founded the non-profit organisation YouthNet in 2006, viewed her victory and that of Kruse as the victory of women in the state, for they had managed to break the glass ceiling.