With accusations against party workers rife in Trashigang, the need for party workers (tshogpas) in villages, which has been debated since the last two elections, has surfaced again.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) party coordinators in Trashigang have alleged that the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) gewog coordinator of Bidung gewog had instigated the people not to attend DNT president’s talk in the gewog.

DNT president, Lotay Tshering, had a meeting with the people of Bidung gewog on September 29 morning. Although the meeting was carried out with some 80 people in attendance, DNT party workers said the number could have been more.

A DNT party worker in Trashigang, Ugyen Wangmo, alleged that on the eve of the meeting in Bidung gewog, DPT gewog coordinator and two of his friends had allegedly visited each household and asked them not to attend the meeting with the president.

“When I reached the gewog on the night before the president’s meeting to make arrangements, I was informed by some people that the meeting was cancelled,” she claimed. “I was told that it was DPT party supporters who went around spreading the false news.”

Ugyen Wangmo said they reported the issue to the returning officer (RO) and managed to gather the public for the meeting.

“We don’t want to make this an issue but it is not right to stop people from attending such meetings,” she said. “We should rather encourage the people to attend any presidential meetings, be it DNT or DPT and let them decide for themselves after listening to them.”              

It was learnt that there was no formal complaint letter submitted to the RO’s office.  

The RO of Bartsham-Shongphu constituency said that there was not much of an issue.

He said that during the briefing of the candidates and party coordinators for the ongoing common forum on September 29, he reminded them not to instigate the public from attending any form of meetings.

DNT Bartsham-Shongphu candidate, Tenzin Lekphell, said the party doesn’t want to blow up the issue. “We are not writing to the ECB on this matter but we want to suggest and request the party workers not to indulge in such practices.”

He said this is a negative trend and if such practices are not monitored and controlled in time, it would have larger impact once it is practised across the country. “Our president is still on the move and he would be visiting other dzongkhags and villages. We do not want such incidences to happen again.”

DPT Bidung gewog coordinator, Karma, told Kuensel that he was not aware of any such issues.

“So far I’ve been encouraging people to attend all the meetings. I urge people to listen to all the candidates and presidents,” he said. “After hearing the pledges, it is the people who would decide for themselves.”

Meanwhile, the 50-year-old Bidung gewog coordinator said that the allegations against him are not true and he would not indulge in such incidents. “I’ve not involved in any such incidents and I would not do in the future also.”

DPT dzongkhag coordinator in Trashigang, Gyembo, said he was also not aware of such incidences in Bidung.

“As far as I know, our party workers have not restricted the public from attending any sort of meetings,” he said. “In fact, we encourage them to listen to all the candidates and parties for better understanding. Ultimately, it is the public who will decide who they should vote for.”

Some residents in Trashigang and Kanglung said that party workers distort information and confuse voters without the knowledge of the candidates.

“Party workers are assigned to disseminate information and coordinate meetings in their respective jurisdictions but we see that they are the ones creating disharmony,” said a resident in Kanglung. “They go around spreading false news against the opposition candidates and party. This is not a making of a vibrant democracy.”       

Another resident in Trashigang said there are party workers who are not registered officially with the Election Commission. “These people are the main troublemakers. They go around influencing voters.”

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang