Close to 50 aspiring candidates are vying for the post of gup and mangmi from the eight gewogs in Zhemgang.

With 48 aspiring candidates nominated during dhamngoi zomdu that ended on Friday, there was a slight increase in the number of candidates taking part in the local government election in Zhemgang.

An aspiring candidate from Shingkhar gewog said it was important for local government leaders to be technically sound. “Most official correspondence is often done online and we should ensure people at the grassroots level are not misinformed.”

He said traditional work culture and superstitions hindered the development and progress at the grassroots level. “Planned development activities were not implemented. The work quality was compromised. There were no equitable developments in gewogs.”

There are 13 aspiring candidates contesting for the gup post from four gewogs: Nangkor, Trong, Shingkhar and Bardo from upper Kheng. Twelve candidates are vying for the gup post from Bjoka, Phangkhar, as well as Ngangla and Goshing gewog in lower Kheng.

The dzongkhag election office has yet to finalise the total number of candidates nominated from the dhamngoi zomdu, which started on November 5.

Considering the large forest coverage and farmers struggling to get expected yields in Zhemgang, aspiring candidates say it is important to enhance sustainable land management practices and reduce human-wildlife conflicts in the dzongkhag.

An aspiring candidate from Zhemgang said that the people have been paying taxes for land that is difficult to farm. “People couldn’t get expected yields because of the damage from wildlife,” he said.

The candidates said farm roads and connectivity between gewogs should improve.

An aspiring candidate from Trong gewog said that the local government should promote transparency and accountability to win the trust of the people. “Development activities executed in gewogs were not very transparent,” he said.

Seven female candidates took part in running for gup, mangmi, and tshogpa posts during the dhamngoi zomdu that ended on Friday. The last nomination was held in Goshing with eight male candidates vying for the post of gup and mangmi.

Rinchen Pemo, the former tshogpa from Ngangla gewog was the only female candidate vying for the post of mangmi from lower Kheng. The candidate will face two male contenders: Dorji Wangchuk and Pema Namgyel from Kagtong chiwog in Ngangla.

There was at least one female candidate who took part in the dhamngoi zomdu for Nangkor, Shingkhar and Trong gewog in upper Kheng, except for the Bardo gewog.

Edited by Tashi Dema