Awan Konyak – the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party candidate in Aboi in Nagaland’s Mon district – came close to becoming the first woman to get elected to the Nagaland Assembly. She was ahead of her closest rival – Eshak Konyak of the Naga People’s Front – by 1,320 votes in the afternoon, but her lead dissipated soon after. She lost by 905 votes.

She is the daughter of four-time MLA Nyeiwang Konyak, who died in early February.

Of the 195 candidates who contested the Nagaland Assembly elections, five were women. Wedie-u Kronu and Mangyangpula Chang contested on National People’s Party tickets from Dimapur-3 and Noksen; the Bharatiya Janata Party had nominated Rhakila from the Tuensang Sadar-II seat; Independent candidate Rekha Rose Dukru contested from Chizami.

Besides Rhakila, they were all contesting an election for the first time.

Konyak’s election would have been a milestone, coming a year after widespread violence in Nagaland over the government’s decision to introduce 33% reservation for women in civic body polls. Tribal groups protesting against the decision had set ablaze several government offices in Kohima, including the state secretariat, the office of the Kohima Municipal Council and the district collector’s office. Two people were also killed in police firing in Dimapur.