Three candidates elected to contest P/Ling thrompon post

Thromde: Phuentsholing Maed new thrompon contestant Tandin Wangchuk lost the seat to former Thrompon Tsheten Dorji and is filing a complaint to the Election Commission of Bhutan dispute settlement committee today.

Tandin Wangchuk lost by 14 votes and is accusing the former thrompon and tshogpa of not informing all the voters of the zomdu yesterday. “I will write a letter to the retaining officer,” Tandin Wangchuk said.

Of the 145 eligible voters in the Maed (core town area) constituency, the former thrompon got 28 votes, while he won 15 votes.

“Not all the voters were informed,” Tandin Wangchuk said further explaining that the ex-thrompon and Maed tshogpa (former) had not disseminated information to all the potential voters in the town. “There are many voters I know who were not informed.”

Tandin Wangchuk, a 2011 graduate claimed that the majority of voters yesterday were relatives of the former thrompon. Only those voters who were supporting the former thrompon were present at the zomdu, he said.

While the former thrompon and tshogpa still retained their former posts until yesterday morning before they resigned, the 26-year-old said more people could have been informed, which according to him was not done. With the zomdu announcement made on December 27 at a coordination meeting, Tandin Wangchuk said the larger sections of the voters were not reached due to time constraints.

“This is not at an election,” Tandin Wangchuk said. “Election commission officials told the tshogpas to inform during the coordination meeting but I think only their supporters turned out.”

ECB should have, at least, given 48 hours time so that there was enough time to interact with the potential voters, Tandin Wangchuk said.

The commission officials had organized a coordination meeting on Sunday. Tandin Wangchuk was also introduced then.

Tandin Wangchuk also expressed that the zomdu had happened in haste. He said he did not have to time to inform and voice his intentions for contesting for the thromde election. Everything happened as if it were “a hide and seek” game, he said.

ECB officials, on the other hand, said enough awareness raising was conducted. An awareness programme, they said was also organized on December 11 at the College of Science and Technology.

“People from commission head office had come and informed,” an ECB official said, adding that all the six tshogpas were informed. “People always have something to say after losing,” the official said.

Although officials claim awareness was provided, most of the residents in town did not have a clear idea about the election. The voter turnout was below 30 percent.

In Phuentsholing Maed, only 43 voters turned out to vote. Most of them were relatives or friends of the former thrompon and Tandin Wangchuk.

Including the former thrompon Tsheten Dorji, there are now three new candidates that will file their nominations.

Neydra, Rinchending, and Pekharzhing have a thrompon candidate each. New in the race is Sangay Tamang, who until yesterday’s zomdu was not in the picture.

At 25, Sangay Tamang is also the youngest nominee, who will contest the 2016-thromde elections.

From the 163 total eligible voters in Pekharzhing, 49 people turned out to vote. Sangay Tamang got 41 “yes” votes.

Uttar Rai, 34, from Neydra and Jigme Dorji, 29, from Rinchending are the other two contestants.

Without an opponent, Uttar Rai, who contested in the 2011 elections got 27 “yes” votes yesterday to contest from Neydra constituency. Two voted “no.”

Jigme Dorji, son of Rinchending tshogpa received 14 “yes” votes from a turnout of 15 voters.

Rinchending has 90 eligible voters, while Neydra has 68 eligible voters.

For the new post of thromde thruemi, only two constituencies, Pekharzhing, Pasakha, and Phuentsholing Maed had candidates. The former Phuentsholing Maed tshogpa Karma Chen won 42 “yes” votes from the total 43 voters that turned up at the zomdu, while a new Pekharzhing candidate Bimal Kumar Ghalley appeared and won to represent Pekharzhing.

From Pasakha, Renuka Rai won 45 “yes” from 49 votes.

Except for Phuentsholing Toed demkhong, all five former tshogpas are vying for the post in 2016. The former tshogpa’s son will contest for the tshogpa post from Phuentsholing Toed.

Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing