Thinley Namgay 

Bhutan Tendrel Party’s (BTP) primary pledge to ensure effective public service delivery determined its complete victory at the fourth National Assembly (NA) general election on January 9, according to the public of Lhuentse. 

In that, they supported correcting the system as a prerequisite to the discussions about improving livelihoods. They also found the party president and the candidates of BTP far more experienced, and who submitted realistic pledges before the people.  

It appears the public had also grown wary with the unfulfilled promises of the past democratically elected government. For example, the pledge for a paved double-lane road between Gangola and Lhuentse had remained elusive for the past 15 years.  

Today, Lhuentse faced major issues relating to inadequate irrigation water, human-wildlife conflict, poor-quality roads, inflation, gungtong, and access to proper services in health, education, and agriculture. 

The strategies of BTP candidates in the common forums to focus more on introducing their party, president, candidates, and their capability, had been more convincing for the voters.  In addition, BTP’s pledge on old age allowance, newborn child allowance, and increasing rural life insurance was received well by the voters.

Whereas, they had not been as confident about some of PDP’s pledges such as reducing mobile data charges by 50 percent, providing loans with low interest, and supporting one family member to go to Australia. 

It is for the second time that a party had won both the constituencies in Lhuentse – by Druk Phuensum Tshogpa in 2008, and during the current election by BTP. In the 2013 and 2018 elections, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) were able to win a seat each respectively.  

In the Maenbi-Tsaenkhar constituency, BTP’s Tempa Dorji emerged victorious with 3,087 votes, comprising 1,568 EVM votes and 1,519 PBs. He beat Yeshey Dorji by 234 votes, winning in both EVM and postal ballots. Tempa Dorji won from nine polling stations out of 15.

“I want to thank the people for supporting and trusting me.” Tempa Dorji said.

From the Gangzur-Minjey constituency, BTP’s Loday Tsheten won securing 3,166 votes, including 1,663 EVM votes and 1,503 PBs. He was ahead of PDP’s Chimi Dorji with 408 EVM votes and 273 PBs.

On January 9, Loday Tsheten won from 10 polling stations out of 15. He grabbed more votes at Minjey GC’s polling station, winning 316-93 votes against the opponent.

The complete win by BTP in Lhuentse during the General Election also came as a surprise given that PDP had won in both the constituencies during the Primary Election in November 2023. 

Lhuentse, with two constituencies, has a total of 18,738 registered voters, including 9,872 males and 8,866 females. The voter turnout in Lhuentse was 11,490, including postal ballot voters. 

Out of around 6,000 PBs issued for Lhuentse’s two constituencies, including overseas PBs and early voting for persons with disabilities (PWDs), 5,481 PBs reached the dzongkhag election office, with 17 being rejected due to wrong address and incomplete information.

From approximately 12,000 EVM voters in Lhuentse, 6,027 voted. In Lhuentse, 271 PWDs registered for special early voting, with 160 PWDs having voted.

Vote counting centres saw the presence of around 30 individuals, including Dzongdag, dzongkhag officials, representatives from the armed forces, national observers, returning officers, party representatives, and media.