MB Subba

The Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI), the umbrella organisation of the country’s private sector, yesterday decided to conduct elections of its president and vice presidents.

The election was scheduled for yesterday and BCCI representatives from dzongkhags had gathered in Thimphu. However, to the disappointment of the representatives and candidates, the chamber’s secretariat on August 25 had “cancelled” the election.

BCCI’s secretary general, Sangay Dorji, refrained from making any comment as discussions were ongoing.

A BCCI member who attended a meeting of BCCI secretariat and representatives yesterday said that the election was cancelled because a few of the representatives from some of the southern dzongkhags could not make it to the election due to the quarantine protocol.

According to him, a special arrangement would be made in Samtse where representatives from Phuentsholing and Samtse would be able to vote.

The tenures of the incumbent office-bearers have already been completed.

Members said the BCCI secretariat had received three postal ballots. But the candidates and representatives said that the secretariat had earlier informed votes would be cast on electronic voting machines.

Some of the candidates, in a letter to the general secretary, rejected the postal ballots and asked the BCCI secretariat to arrange an alternative voting facility for those who had sent postal ballots.

One of the signatories of the letter, Tandin Wangchuk, said that the election date was fixed a month ago by the BCCI’s executive committee and that the secretariat had no power to cancel or alter the date. Only the committee, he said, could make such decisions as per the chamber’s rules.

Tandin Wangchuk, who is also one of the two candidates for the post of president, said: “The candidates and dzongkhag representatives have come from across the country to elect the chamber’s office bearers.” He added that the candidates and representatives were surprised to learn about the cancellation of the election only after reaching Thimphu.

A representative from Trashigang, Karma, said that he was surprised to learn yesterday morning that the election had been cancelled.

“I went to the meeting thinking that I would be able to vote yesterday. I don’t know whose fault it was,” he said.

As per the agenda shared earlier with the candidates and representatives, each of the candidates would make pledges in seven minutes in the alphabetical order of their names.

There are six vice president candidates.

The other candidate for president is Thinley Gyamtsho of M/s T&K Construction in Thimphu.

Tandin Wangchuk is from M/s 8one8 Enterprise in Thimphu.

The candidates for the two vice presidents are Dorji Norbu and Kamal Pradhan from Gelephu; Pema Wangchuk from Samdrupjongkhar, Singye Namgyal Dorji and Sonam Dorji from Thimphu, and Ugyen Dorji from Bumthang.

Established under the Royal Command of His Majesty the King in 1980, BCCI is a non-profit organisation comprising members from the business community in the country. The general body of the BCCI is the apex forum that comprises of business representatives from twenty dzongkhags elected for the term of five years by the respective business members in each dzongkhags and meets annually with the BCCI for Annual General Meeting.

Edited by Jigme Wangchuk