Even before the final count of the postal ballots, speculations surrounding the counting centre in Trashigang were that Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) had an edge over the ballots.

Running neck-to-neck against the party was Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) on the ballot count. Of the total 16,138 postal ballots received, DPT had secured 6,310 ballots followed by DNT with 5,497 ballots.

After coming second on the postal ballots in two constituencies, DPT had a clean sweep across all the five constituencies in the overall provisional results.

Of the total 31,574 votes cast in Trashigang including the postal ballots, DPT secured 12,305 votes during the primary rounds of the third national Assembly elections on September 15.

DNT came second with 9,927 votes.

Bartsham-Shongphu constituency, one of the strong holds of DPT yet again showered the party with their support. The constituency saw the largest difference of 973 votes between the first and second position holders.

Wamrong and Radhi-Sakteng constituencies also followed a similar pattern where DPT won in both the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and postal ballots. The party secured 2,083 and 2,392 votes respectively in the two constituencies.

DPT Bartsham-Shongphu candidate, Passang Dorji, 40, said that the results were as he expected. “Bartsham-Shongphu is one of DPT’s strongholds,” he said. “I say this not for any other reasons but for the kind of work DPT has done in the last 10 years and for the serving the people of the constituency well.”

He said that his campaign was based on integrity and honesty, which is why the people had supported him and the party. “I have come to know that people do not like divisive politics and they sure don’t enjoy mudslinging among political parties.”

Passang Dorji said, “We cannot undermine the wisdom of our rural people. They know about Bhutan and its democracy more than I do. They know what the country wants,” he said. “If democracy in Bhutan is to fail, it won’t be because of the people. It would rather be because of self-interested politicians and political parties.”

Of the 19 polling stations in the constituency, DPT secured the highest votes in 11 polling stations.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong candidate, Tenzin Namgyel, said that people had opted for change and that it would be a positive change if DNT would win the general round.

The 38-year-old candidate competed from the same village and constituency of the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) former education minister, Norbu Wangchuk. Tenzin Namgyel received the highest (1,300) postal ballots in the constituency.

“Democracy is all about shouldering big responsibilities in serving the country and its people. Now that I’m a step closer to this responsibility, my commitment to my people and country remains my priority.”

He said that he is optimistic of his chances in the general round now that he has the full support of his village and the constituency as a whole.

Of the 18 polling stations in the constituency, 10 voted in favour of DPT. DNT and PDP won in five stations each.

DPT’s Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong candidate, Samdrup R Wangchuk, said that he was expecting to receive positive support from his constituency. “Maybe the middle-path approach I followed by not being controversial helped my get this victory,” he said. “I would be following the same middle-path going into the general rounds and I expect the same support from my people.”

Of the five constituencies in the dzongkhag, only Thrimshing constituency deviated from the common support observed in favour of DPT and DNT on the grassroots.

PDP’s former works and human-settlement minister, Dorji Choden, managed to lead (806) in the EVM votes. Of the 10 polling stations in Thrimshing, PDP won in five followed by DPT in four stations.

However, on the overall provisional results, DPT made up on the low EVM votes (735) from postal ballots (977) to win the constituency with 1,712 votes. PDP finished second with 1,523 votes in Thrimshing.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang