What we saw these past few weeks is nothing short of remarkable. What was pre-eminent in all that we witnessed should worry us.

Thromde election’s common forums in the three thromdes of Thimphu, Phuentsholing and Gelephu failed to draw voters. Of the 9,175 eligible voters, only 581 attended the forum, which translates to just about 6.33 percent voter turnout. In some constituencies, election officials and candidates put together outnumbered the voters.

This extreme voter apathy sends a strong message and jolts us into thinking about all the possible causes and repercussions. Common forums are where candidates spell their dreams and development visions. It is through platforms like these that voters get to know the worth and capabilities of their representatives.

It is vital that people elect right and capable leaders.

However, what is now clear is that voters will be casting their ballot without adequate knowledge about the candidates and their pledges. There is only one thing to be construed from this: our people are shying away from taking part in making decisions that will matter to them and the future of the community they live in.

It is important that we honour and exercise our fundamental rights and duties. Failing to take part in democratic electoral processes will only weaken our system of organisation and governance.

It is hoped that voter turnout will be large or satisfactory on the election day. But whether there is large voter turnout or no, one of the candidates will win and will be sworn into the office of Thrompon. Will the people and the thromdes have made the right choice, however?

Much has already happened. But there is more to look forward to. It is, therefore, incumbent on the candidates now to carry out vigorous door-to-door campaign to educate the voters. Otherwise, candidates too will have to take the blame and carry the guilt of not doing their part enough to reach out.

Any election, small or big, should matter and, as responsible citizens, we should take them seriously. Ultimately, it is about the freedom given to us to decide our own future, the kind of developments we want to see take shape. How well and meaningfully we make use of that freedom will define our worth as citizens, denizens and residents.

It will be a sad commentary on our society if we fail to involve ourselves in making decisions that will not only influence our present, but also our future. So, come election day, go out en masse and cast your ballot. Pick your leader wisely.