One is under review

Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) received a total of five cases related to National Council (NC) Dhamngoi Zomdu.

One of the cases involves Trashigang’s Bartsham mangmi, Gatu, who allegedly expressed his preference for older and experienced candidates and made comments on the age of candidates in Kuensel on March 2.

Maintaining that elected officials of the local government should not engage in supporting or opposing any candidate, the dzongkhag election dispute settlement body asked the mangmi to provide justification for his comments.

Gatu submitted that he was making a general comment and did not intend to support or harm any candidate. He, according to ECB, realised it was a mistake.

Dzongkhag election dispute settlement body reminded him to refrain from such acts and to observe the code of conduct in the future. The case stands closed as no appeals were made.

In Tsirang, one of the aspiring candidates from Tsholingkhar gewog, Ram Kumar Neopaney, accused the gewog’s gup of misuse of authority and for encouraging bribery.

Ram Kumar Neopaney alleged the gup, Passang Thingh Tamang, asked for a bribe of Nu 25,000 from him. He alleged that the gup misused his authority by campaigning against him before Dhamngoi Zomdu.

The dzongkhag’s dispute settlement body found that Passang Thingh Tamang on March 1 wanted to borrow Nu 25, 000. The complainant said that the gup promised to return the amount.

However, investigation found that the complainant had not given Passang Thingh Tamang any money.

It was also found that the defendant was neither involved in causing undue influence on the voters nor in spreading wrongful information about the complainant. However, the gup was fined Nu 3,750 for providing grounds that could be construed as support.

Passang Thingh Tamang was also warned to avoid from committing acts that could be construed as support, opposition or dislike for any candidate.

The case, however, is closed since the complainant did not appeal.

In Wangdue, Rubesa gewog’s nominee, Tashi Dorji, was accused of giving a Bolero pick-up and a Jamyang (Manjushree) statue to the gewog.

Dzongkhag’s election dispute settlement body adjudicated the case and was forwarded by the Anti-Corruption Commission. Investigation found that the allegations were baseless and dismissed the case.

In Haa’s Bji gewog, a resident of the gewog complained that Chundu Tshering, tshogpa of Chumpa chiwog, had convened a public meeting in the chiwog during the election period without prior approval from relevant authorities.

Investigation found that the meeting was held to discuss land demarcation in the chiwog.

Dispute settlement body found the allegation baseless and dismissed the case.

Only one case remains unresolved.

One of the candidates from Thimphu Thromde, Sonam Penjor, lodged a complaint against Tshokey Dorji and Phub Dem.

The allegations include charge of ferry of voters, receiving help from religious personality, and soliciting votes after February 14.

Sonam Penjor alleged the defendant of soliciting votes by issuing VPICs on the poll day and not following proper procedure to obtain qualification endorsement.

The ECB is reviewing the allegations.

Staff Reporter