Those at the dzongkhag counting centre witnessing the opening of the postal ballots yesterday afternoon got some hint of what was to come.

Most of the ballots were for one party – Druk Phuensum Tshogpa. Samdrupjongkhar like the other eastern dzongkhags chose to support Druk Phuensum Tshogpa yet again.

As per the provisional results from returning officers, the two constituencies together gave the party 7,381 votes at the primary round of the National Assembly elections yesterday.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) stood second with 3,997 votes. People’s Democratic Party represented by Wangdi Gyeltshen and Lobzang Dorji came third with 1,880 votes. Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party got 1,506 votes from the two constituencies.

In Dewathang-Gomdar constituency, where DPT fielded its former candidate Ugyen Dorji from Wangphu gewog, it secured 4,020 votes including 1,471 votes through postal ballots. The party secured the highest number of votes on the electronic voting machine (EVM) with 2,549 with Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa coming second  with 1,228 votes in the constituency.

The party also received the highest number of votes, 3,361 in the dzongkhag’s other constituency, Jomotsangkha-Martshala, where it has another former candidate Norbu Wangzom.

A little more than 67 percent out of the 25,826 registered voters in the dzongkhag turned up to vote.  A total of 67.4 percent of the voters voted in Dewathang-Gomdar, while in the other constituency 66.7 percent voted.

Before 1pm, 7,593 voters cast their votes on the EVM in these two constituencies of which most of them were women, 4,145 of them.

One of the first voters at the Bangtsho milk booth was BKP president Neten Zangmo. The late monsoon rain had lashed Samdrupjongkhar for more than a week causing roadblocks and electricity blackout. But yesterday, Samdrupjongkhar residents woke up to a clear sky.

Voters came dressed in their best attire, with ghos and kira of lavish intricate patterns.

Some voters took turn to look after their cattle while relatives came to vote at the polling stations.

One of the elderly voters, Tsumpi, 70 from Samdrupgatshel walked to the polling station with a walking staff with two family members. “I’ve voted in all the elections,” she said.  “But I got nothing from voting,” she said in jest.

As the day drew to its end, residents in the Samdrupjongkhar town stayed glued to their television sets as provisional results were announced. The town remained deserted throughout the day as shops and business establishments were closed for the poll day. There were hardly any vehicles plying along the Trashigang-Samdrupjongkhar highway.

Most of the voters knew about the parties and their candidates.

There were also a few cases of people who had registered for postal ballot and turned up to vote at the polling stations.

Tshering Palden | Samdrupjongkhar