Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) move to woo voters in the east worked to an extent with the party winning five of the 17 constituencies in the six eastern dzongkhags in the general election on October 18. 

The party won in two of the five constituencies in Trashigang, which was considered a Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) stronghold.

Following the results of the primary round, DNT president, Lotay Tshering, spent four days meeting the voters of Trashigang, the dzongkhag with the highest number of registered voters and constituencies.   

The move worked. DPT, which won in all the constituencies during the primary round came to an end with DNT candidates from Radhi-Sakteng and Thrimshing constituencies winning the general election. 

DNT’s Dorji Tshering who was trailing by 430 votes on the postal ballot in Radhi-Sakteng constituency made up on the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). He almost doubled his EVM votes during the general round winning 3,550 votes of which 2,259 votes came from the EVM.    

Dorji Tshering from Sakteng gewog said he was hopeful of his chances since the primary round. “The primary results came as a shock to me but I still believed that I would receive full support from my people during the general round.”

The 39-year-old said he was at the same time prepared for the worst. “I’ve seen more capable and hardworking individuals than me lose. Despite all the hopes I had from my people, I was prepared to face any outcome,” he said. “Fortunately, it was in my favour and I’m ready to serve my people who have put their trust on me.”   

During the primary round, DPT won in both the postal ballot and EVM votes in the constituency with a difference of 275 votes on the overall count. With a difference of 233 votes on the overall count, DNT won in the general round. 

In Thrimshing, similar to the primary results, DNT’s Ugyen Dorji, held his lead on the postal ballot count. He secured 1,518 ballots against 1,422 ballots of DPT’s Chenga Tshering. 

Unlike the primary elections, this time Ugyen Dorji also took the lead on the EVM votes. He secured 1,128 votes on the EVM against 1,037 of Chenga Tshering. After coming second to DPT by 281 votes, Ugyen Dorji went on to win the general election by 187 votes. He was not available for comments. 

The people of Barthsam-Shongphu, continued to shower their support for DPT, as Passang Dorji once again emerged victorious with a difference of 538 votes, winning both on the postal ballots and EVM count.  

However, DNT’s Tenzin Lekphell managed to bring down the overall difference by almost half compared to the primary results. He also saw an increase of 708 votes on the EVM against Passang Dorji’s 270 from the primary elections.     

Vying for a place in the National Assembly for the third time, Tenzin Lekphell who is one of the founding members of the party could not narrow the vote gap against his contender. 

Kanlgung-Samkhar-Udzorong saw a close call as DNT’s Tenzin Namgyel lost by 28 votes on the postal ballot to DPT’s Samdrup R Wangchuk. 

After securing the highest (1,300) postal ballots during the primary elections, Tenzin Namgyel was trailing by 317 ballots on October 18. Although he managed to double his EVM votes (1,840 from 1,132) this time, it was not enough.      

In Wamrong, DPT’s Karma Thinley managed to hold on to his lead in both the postal ballots and EVM. He secured 1,695 ballots against 1,352 of DNT’s Jigme Wangdi. 

Jigme Wangdi managed to almost double his EVM votes this time but was short of five votes to equal Karma Thinley. 

Karma Thinley said the reason for his win in the constituency is because of the works that was done by the party since 2008. “The logic is simple; what you put in as effort, you get it as reward. By this logic, we should have won in other places too but why we lost, I cannot comprehend.”

However, he said that he respects the people’s choice and is ready to work for the mandate people have entrusted on him. 

Trashigang saw an increase of 1,364 voters during the general elections, a growth of 2.86 percent compared to the primary elections. Of the 47,614 registered voters in the dzongkhag, 32,938 voted. 

Meanwhile, voters in Trashigang said that the new government’s performance would depend on what it delivers in the next 100 days. “Since the inception of democracy we have seen three new governments,” said a town resident. “It would be interesting to see how this new government functions. Will it deliver all the things it has promised? It’s only a matter of time now.”

Another resident who did not wish to be named said the candidate she voted for has stopped taking her calls. “I just wanted to wish him after the results but there was no response. Until yesterday, they were the ones to call us. Now they don’t even bother to respond to our calls,” she said. “It is discouraging to see this after all the support we have been providing them.”  

Some said that even though their candidates won, there was no celebration because they would not be forming the government. “Yet again we form the opposition. Despite winning there is no joy,” said an elderly townsman. “Winning is one thing, forming the government is another. I hope we see developments even in our villages.” 

Discussions surrounding possible ministerial positions are also making the round in the town. “Now that the candidate has won, he should become a minster, after all he was promised the position,” said Dorji, a private employee. “While, my candidate lost, I’m happy because we would still have ministers from the east, and Trashigang is definite to have at least one.”   

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang