SHILLONG, March 6 � The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) scripted a new chapter in its 62-year-old history by electing for the first time a woman, Theilina S Thangkhiew as the chairperson.
Thangkhiew received 15, out of a possible 30 votes, in her favour and was declared elected as the chairperson by the Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills District Sanjay Goyal, who presided over the voting. The chairperson�s role is equivalent to that of a Speaker in the Assembly or the Parliament.
Thangkhiew is a member of the Hill State People�s Democratic Party (HSPDP), one of the oldest regional parties of the State and she defeated the Congress candidate for the post, Manstudy Nongrem who secured 12 votes in the secret ballot voting.
Two votes were counted as invalid after one was found without the mandatory name and signature while the other was rejected because both the candidates were chosen.
Besides the HSPDP, Thangkhiew�s candidature was backed by two other parties, United Democratic Party and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Party, who together have formed an alliance called the All Regional Party Alliance.
But it is ironic that in a State with a matrilineal society, a woman has won her right to hold the prestigious post of the chairperson after such a long period.
Though Meghalaya follows a matrilineal lineage, women are least empowered politically and economically and the society is comparable to any other male-dominated patriarchal societies of the world.
The number of women representatives in the district councils and also the State Assembly has been very poor. In fact, it is for the first time during this election, that a woman has been elected as a council member in the Jaintia Hills ADC.
Violet Lyngdoh entered the Council in style after she defeated former Chief Executive Member of the Jaintia Hills ADC, Hambertus Nongtdu of the Congress in the polls and became the first woman to be elected to the Council.