The preparation for the upcoming national assembly election is limited to candidates going round the village sharing their party ideologies and pledges to the people in Khatoed gewog of Gasa.

The election advertising board in Gasa town is empty and the residents are reluctant to discuss the upcoming national assembly elections.

A shopkeeper at Gasa town said the community do not show interest and discuss about the political parties and candidates as it creates division and disharmony.

“It is better not to talk about politics because it undervalues the essence of votes being secret and undermines an individual’s right and responsibility,” he said. “Supporting parties and sharing views on political parties would mean voting for that party but in reality no one would know who we voted for.”

The sombre election mood in Gasa poses a challenge to the candidates.

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party candidate from Khatoed Laya constituency Damcho Zangmo said it was even difficult to find a party coordinator in the constituency.

“People feel that they cannot support or accept new ideas and choices. They fear about being looked down by other party supporters if the party they support don’t make it to the general round,” she said.  

“However, some shared about the loss of trust in political parties when the pledges they shared were not fulfilled. People here say that it was important to implement the pledges.”

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa candidate, Tenzin said the community is reluctant to come forward and show their support despite sharing an interest in a party. “It might be because of the small population and they don’t want to let others know about their affiliations,” he said. “But we don’t know the real reasons for the fear.”

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa candidate Changa Dawa said it was difficult to get a demkhong coordinator. “The community being small fear of division the election might cause if they come out in the open to support a party. They hardly speak of any issues concerning them,” he said.

He said that the people were not aware about the issues concerning at the national level and the overall economy of the country. “They are more focused on their local issues.”

However, People’s Democratic Party candidate Damcho Dorji said the people were eager to discuss politics with him. “It was not that they are reluctant to talk about politics but they feel that they don’t fully know about political parties. The pledges and mission of the parties are competitive to know.”

He said the voters by now would have decided the party they would vote for. “They feel that they might reveal their choice of party while discussing election related issues,” he said.

With 1,023 registered voters in Khatoed Laya constituency and 1,041 voter sin Khamaed Lunana constituency, Gasa has 2,064 voters registered on the electoral roll, the least among the dzongkhags.

Nima | Gasa