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LG: Leela Thapa, 27, is Chukha’s only woman gup candidate.

She will contest against the former gup in Sampheling gewog in the upcoming Local Government (LG) election on September 27.

The class XII graduate got 30 “yes” out of 51 cast during the recent chiwog zomdu. She is from Thongling (Daragaon) chiwog of Sampheling gewog.

Leela Thapa is confident of her chances. “I think there is 50-50 chance,” she said. “I want to serve the people.”

While development has taken place in Sampheling gewog, Leela Thapa is concerned that not all have benefitted.

Chumigthang Middle Secondary School, she said, is one such example in which students lack facilities. She said that the school does not have a bus and that the school is too far for some students.

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“In my own village Kothiline, people are suffering in a number of ways,” she said, adding that villagers also tend not to raise their issues with officials. “And that is why I want to be a gup.”

Leela Thapa said Kothiline village is in dire need of a suspension bridge over the Singey river. While there is a bridge that connects an alternative route between Phuentsholing and Thimphu, there is no bridge that connects Kothiline.

Pollution and the local economy are two major key areas Leela Thapa will focus on if elected.

“I want to help villages improve their economy,” she said.

She plans to encourage the villagers to venture into commercial farming. According to her, many families in Sampheling have just one person earning an income and working at the Pasakha industrial estate.

Leela Thapa said that such dependency has weakened the villages with many leaving their farms and moving with their children to work in factories.

As a woman contestant, the only message she would like to convey to other women is that women can perform equally to men in all areas, even leadership.

“The only problem with women is that they do not come forward,” Leela Thapa said, adding that women usually remain cocooned in their comfort zones. “They need to come out and get that exposure,” she said.

Sampheling gewog in Chukha has two gup contestants for this LG election.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

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