After recording the highest number of votes during the primary round of the national assembly elections earlier this month, residents of Trashigang have put themselves in a discreet mode.

There is not much hype about the elections and no one is talking about the possible outcomes, at least publicly.

Many businessmen in the town said that two most deserving parties have made it to the general round. “People start talking, good or bad, when they dislike a party. It is clear that no one has such feeling for either of the two parties,” said one of the shopkeepers.

A vegetable vendor from Yangnyer gewog, Tandin Dorji, said that while both the parties are capable of forming the government, it is difficult to predict the outcome. “People who voted for the two parties that could not make it to the second round will now decide the outcome.”

In Trashigang, he said that a slight deviation among these voters towards Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) could see the party winning the whole process. “However, if all the voters (BKP and PDP) turn in favour of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), the party will then form the government.”

He, however, said there is no guarantee to any of these assumptions. “Anything can happen which is why we are all excited.”

Tandin Dorji said he would personally want to divide his vote and share it between the two parties. “I still cannot decide who I should vote for.”

Going by the results of the primary round, like most of the eastern dzongkhags, Trashigang is a DPT stronghold. The party won in all the five constituencies in the dzongkhag.

While DNT declared their interest to woo voters in the east for the general round, party candidates in the dzongkhag have started putting in their efforts already.

DNT Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong candidate, Tenzin Namgyel, began his door-to-door campaign from the business community in Trashigang town on September 25.

Tenzin Namgyel visited some 80 shops in the town thanking them for their support in the primary elections and requested for similar assistance in the upcoming general round.

The 38-year-old said that the level of acceptance for the party and candidates has grown among the residents and that he is hopeful of his chances.

While going around, the candidate explained the party’s manifesto and in particular, activities that are planned for the residents of the town should DNT come to power.

The geographical difficulty for expansion of Trashigang town, he said would be explored along with building disaster-resilient infrastructures in the town. The candidate also promised that Gamrichu hydro project would be initiated that would benefit the entire dzongkhag.

Of the total 31,574 votes cast in the dzongkhag, DNT received the second highest votes (9,927) during the primary round. The party came second in four of the five constituencies.

Tenzin Namgyel is more optimistic about his chances in the general round. “With former education minister out of the race, I expect complete support from the whole Kanglung gewog. That would make a big difference for me.”

DNT coordinator for the dzongkhag, Karma Choeda, said that people have shown positive support towards the party for what the party stands for. “Moreover, Tenzin Namgyel has been provided a ministerial portfolio should he win. This has further increased the interest of people to support the candidate.”

Karma Choeda said that since 2008, Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong constituency has produced a minister and it would not be fair for the public if this practice didn’t continue. “Becoming a minister is not easy which is exactly why the president has trusted our candidate and offered him the portfolio.”

DPT’s Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong candidate, Samdrup R Wangchuk also began his door-to-door campaign from Samkhar gewog.

However, much to his dismay, he could talk to only two households in the gewog. “Most of the houses were locked as people had gone to attend a funeral nearby,” he said.

Samdrup R Wangchuk said he has not planned for a vigorous campaign for the general election like other candidates. “I’ve confidence in the voters and I expect them to make the right choice.”

He said that if voters were let to exercise their franchise freely, the results would be in favour of DPT. “People have trust and believe in our party and also in its candidates, which is why I’m hopeful for the general round.”

DPT received 12,305 votes of the total 31,574 during the primary round.

Meanwhile, few residents still shared their support for the party’s logos and not with the candidates. “I’m told that it’s either going to be the crane or the flower. Last time it was the crane for me. I don’t know if I will change my support this time,” said a resident.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang