LG: A gup candidate of the recent local government election has alleged that the gup-elect of Barshong in Tsirang violated the election Act by providing gifts and bribing voters.

The case has reached the Tsirang dzongkhag court.

According to sources, the gup candidate has made five allegations against the gup-elect, Santa Lal Powdel, who won with 389 votes defeating three others on September 27. He was also the former Barshong gup.

The allegations are that after the primary round, Santa Lal Powdel served tea and alcohol to about 20 people in a shop near the Barshong Community Primary School and another seven people in Mendrelgang.

According to the election Act, offering or purchase of gifts or donations for offices, individuals, business units or any other organisation for any other purpose by a candidate is prohibited.

He is also accused of bribing people during the door-to-door campaign. According to the Act, a candidate is not allowed to go door-to-door campaigning before 6am and after 6pm but the gup-elect is accused of giving Nu 500 to a woman after the permitted campaign time.

The Act also states that a candidate cannot convene public meetings and campaign during the 48 hours preceding commencement of polls, that is September 27. If a candidate contravenes this provision it will result in the cancellation of his or her nomination, notwithstanding any other penalty that may be imposed under any other law.

On October 26, the gup-elect, with the permission from the returning officer travelled to Damphu for official work.

He is alleged to have withdrawn Nu 10,000 from his bank account and bribed a few people in Damphu, according to sources.

The gup candidate submitted a petition to the returning officer on September 29. Since the second local government election had ended and the returning officer’s role was complete, the complainant was told to submit the case to the Tsirang dzongkhag court.

The candidate appealed to the court on October 3.

Because of the allegations against him in the court, the gup-elect did not receive dhar and kabney on October 13.

Tsirang district court has held three hearings till date and villagers from Barshong were summoned to the court to give their statements yesterday.

Dechen Tshomo