Her strategy to reach gewogs that didn’t have candidates and her popularity as an actor helped Lhaki Dolma win the National Council seat from Punakha.

Punakha had eight NC candidates, of which two were women. 

Lhaki Dolma secured the maximum number of votes from her gewog, Dzomi, which saw over 700 voters turn up during the poll day. She secured more than 50 percent of the votes from the gewog. 

Securing the maximum votes from four gewogs – Lingmukha, Kabisa, Dzomi, and Chubbu, she won about 30 percent of the total votes cast at the polling stations.

Although the candidate from Kabisa gewog secured the most votes from two stations in the gewog, Lhaki Dolma won more votes from Serigang polling station, which has a large voter base. With 1,073 votes cast at the polling stations in Kabisa, the gewog saw the maximum voter turnout on poll day. 

The votes from Goenshari and Shelnga-Bjemi gewogs that didn’t have a candidate were evenly distributed to all candidates. The gewogs had the least voter turnout at the polling stations. 

Lhaki Dolma said that apart from her gewog, she targeted to reach voters in gewogs that did not have a NC candidate. 

She said that her target was to not only to ask for votes in the gewogs but also to encourage people to cast their votes. “Since they don’t have a candidate, most don’t choose to cast their votes and during my campaign, I explained the importance of voting and insisted them to vote.”

Lhaki Dolma said most people recognised her and were forthcoming during the campaign, which helped her reach the people in almost all the chiwogs in Punakha. “People knew me and that was helpful during the familiarisation tour.”

She added that she personally contacted civil servants through telephone.

Punakha received 2,246 postal ballots, of which 117 were rejected. Lhaki Dolma secured 706 votes from postal ballots, the highest among the six candidates. 

Although postal ballot votes could be attributed for the huge vote difference between her and the other candidates, Lhaki Dolma also won the highest EVM votes.  

Punakha had over 16,700 registered voters of which 10,018 voted through postal ballots and EVM. The dzongkhag was the last to announce the results, as the voting time at Punakha hospital polling station was extended until 6:40pm due to large number of voters. 

Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha