While voters in Punakha say they were looking forward to the general election’s poll day, they were more anxious about guarding their paddy fields from wild animals.

As some of the villagers in various gewogs in Punakha have started harvesting paddy, Nidup Wangdi, 68, from Dompala, a community of 21 households in Limbukha gewog said without two people, it is difficult to guard a paddy field against wild boars, monkeys and deer.

Nidup Wangdi said while both the candidates of Lingmukha-Toedwang constituency, DNT’s Tandi Dorji and DPT’s Sonam Wangyel Wang are capable, he finds Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) candidate from Kabisa-Talo constituency, Tshencho Wangdi, promising.

“Although he is not from my constituency and I don’t know him personally, I was impressed with his oratory skill during the National Council debate,” Nidup Wangdi said.

He said a majority of the people he knows thinks that it is wise to go for a change. “Going by what both the candidates’ pledge, both looks promising. But, I still haven’t decided which candidate to choose.” 

Nidup Wangdi said it is important to vote for the candidate who would work for the benefit of the constituency and the country.

A 75-year-old woman from Dompala, Aum Chenzo said she was not sure about her choice for the general round because the result of the primary round was not as she expected. “Whichever party forms the government, I pray that it would work towards addressing the rural people’s needs and issues.”

“I am grateful to the former government for the developments it has brought to rural areas so during the primary round this year, my prayers were with PDP. But, my prayers were not answered,” she said.

Most of the voters in Limbukha and Shengana inLingmukha-Toedwang constituency said they don’t mind going for change and giving an opportunity to a new party while some said a party with experience would do better.

Namgay Bidha, 49, from Limbukha said that just like in primary round, she feels voters from her village would support DNT’s candidate Dr Tandi Dorji.

A 60-year-old woman, Kencho Wangmo, from Shengana said while both DNT’s Tandi Dorji and DPT’s Sonam Wangyel Wang are equally capable, going by what people say, it is likely that most support DNT. 

However, she said, it cannot be said for sure because despite being popular in a constituency or a dzongkhag, some candidates lose on poll day. “The same can happen this time also, we never know.”

The voters in Punakha said that nothing can be said about which party would form the government this year as the election results are unpredictable. “Based on the primary round results, nothing can be said about the general election results. It is so unpredictable,”  

Choden, a farmer from Serigang said.

She said many thought that DNT and PDP would get through the primary round but the result was unexpected.

A 36-year-old woman from Wakudamchi in Serigang, Tshering Yangden, said that her village has an equal number of DNT and DPT supporters. “On WeChat groups, we have almost the same number of friends and families supporting both the parties and asking us to support.”

Dechen Tshomo | Punakha