Kitchen to cabinet, Tripura’s lone woman minister on uncharted path

March 10th, 2008 - 4:03 pm ICT by admin  

By Sujit Chakraborty
Agartala, March 10 (IANS) When a 40-year-old housewife from a little known Tripura village took oath as the Left Front government’s lone woman minister Monday, it was a giant step forward for a homemaker catapulted into the rough and tumble of politics. Bijita Nath was sworn in by Tripura Governor Dinesh Nandan Sahaya along with other ministers to run a government headed by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar.

“I never held any government post, never contested any election before the Feb 23 assembly election in Tripura,” said Nath.

“I also do not know anything about administrative formalities and the bureaucratic method of functioning. God knows how I will handle ministerial work,” a smiling Nath told IANS.

The wife of the schoolteacher and mother of two teens, Nath had been the custodian of her middle class household in Kadamtala village in north Tripura - till the election bells tolled and she contested on CPI-M ticket.

The graduate from Tripura University won from the Kadamtala constituency by a slender margin of 128 votes defeating former assembly speaker Jyotirmoy Nath of the Congress.

“You will be surprised to know that I have never gone outside Tripura after my marriage,” said Nath, who became a member of CPI-M in 2002.

She had been associated with the party’s Students Federation of India (SFI) - since she was in Class 7.

“I am also worried how I will balance the political world and my children and home,” said Nath, who is now staying with her family in a small room of the MLA hostel here. “I never dreamt that I would be a minister,” she added simply.

A total of 313 candidates, including 31 women and 64 independents, were in the fray in Tripura.

Three women, the highest number so far in Tripura, were elected — all from the CPI-M. Besides Nath, the other two new women lawmakers are Gauri Das and Rita Kar Majumder, who secured the highest winning margin of 8,307.

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