The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) yesterday lodged three complaints with the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) against a Druk Phuensum Tshogpa candidate and supporters.

The party also submitted three voice recordings as evidence to the commission.

Of the three complaints, one was against the DPT’s Drametse-Ngatsang candidate Ugyen Wangdi, one against his coordinator and one against truckers in Pemagatshel.

In the complaint letter written by the party’s general secretary, Phurba, DNT alleged that Ugyen Wangdi has directly induced the voters to make a false statement in an application for postal ballot paper by grossly manipulating the place of residence and the workplace in a WeChat group for people of his constituency, who reside in Wangduephodrang.

It stated that Ugyen Wangdi allegedly helped register those voters to avail postal ballot and facilitation booth services in contravention of the Election Act and the Postal Ballot Rules and Regulations, 2018.

“He has further directed the voters to give false information as to their work address and place of the resident to ECB if ECB calls them to reconfirm their address, which is very much questionable as to his standard of integrity as a person intending to be representative of the people,” the complaint letter stated. “This in our view is a serious breach of electoral laws undermining the very principle of free and fair election set forth under the election act.”

DNT alleged that a lawyer and a maker of laws for the nation teaching people to break laws reeks of corruption.

However, the WeChat conversation submitted to the ECB as evidence to support the allegation stated that the conversation happened on April 8 this year. DNT media office later claimed that it must have happened sometime in July.

Ugyen Wangdi said he did not receive any call as of yesterday evening but he never meant to induce voters to manipulate or direct them to provide false information about their work addresses.

He said he only advised people to tell ECB when they call to crosscheck the address where they work. Ugyen Wangdi said he gave the advice in August before ECB called for the elections.

The second complaint is against DPT’s coordinator or supporter from Drametse-Ngatshang.

The complaint did not name the alleged supporter or coordinator but stated that the person has disseminated a message via WeChat on October 5 that China would intervene the country’s internal peace and policy if DPT loses the election.

It also alleged that the same coordinator also claims that the recent standoff at Doklam in Haa was settled only after the former prime minister and former DPT president intervened. “Instilling such fear and insecurity in the mind of the innocent people by expressly intending to convince that peace and happiness will not prevail is a grossly misleading message regarding the sovereignty of the country.”

The press release by DNT stated that it is a matter of grave concern for DNT in view of the use of foreign relations; geopolitics and circulating fabricated information with regard to another nation to further political mileage and gain votes.

The third complaint is against truck drivers in Pemagatshel. 

It states that the two truck drivers allegedly discuss threatening and terrorising DNT president and his team travelling from Samdrupjongkhar to Pemagatshel at the beginning of the campaign for the general election.

The press release stated that contrary to DNT president and his team’s initial thought that the trucks were hurtling to do more trips to supply gypsum stones, the two trucks tailgated the vehicles one after another before thundering past the narrow, beat-up highway, leaving a cloud of dust as they did, was a deliberate threat. The complaint stated that the truckers chased the President’s car until Tshelingkhor (Zobel Gewog) from Chilling on October 4.

“At one point of the recording, one driver also hints crashing into DNT president’s vehicle to push it down Melong Brak (cliff),” it stated. “The development surfaces at a time when DNT president turned down ECB’s offer of two security personnel at the beginning of the primary round campaign, thinking Bhutan would witness safe and healthy election process.”

The press release stated that DNT needs to reconsider this decision. “Through such development, the President and the supporters of DNT are positioned in the state of fear and anxiety. The DNT as a political party vying for the general election would be reduced as second to the perpetrating party, DPT as DNT wouldn’t get an equal level of playing field in the pot of fear and anxiety caused by the DPT and its supporters.”

The complaint letter to ECB alleges that the truckers are evidently DPT supporters.

DNT requested ECB to trace the identity of those truckers through the evidence they submitted. “If such activities are not taken seriously considering the gravity of this attempted criminal offence, we are failing to participate in this democratic process of free and fair election.”

Tashi Dema