LG: Much before the commencement of the local government election, Pema Wangmo Tamang, 30 and Passang Thingh Tamang, 35, often joked about what would happen if both were elected.
With both now gups-elect, that reality has arrived.
Pema Wangmo is the gup-elect of Gesarling gewog in Dagana and Passang Thingh is the gup-elect of Tsholingkhar gewog in Tsirang.
Pema won after defeating the former gup, Mani Kumar Ghishing by 22 votes, and Passang was elected after securing 626 more votes than the former gup, Lok Bahadur Monger.
The couple celebrated their victory over the phone simply by congratulating each other.
Pema is with her parents in Dagana and Passang with his in Tsirang. Both of them shared feelings of being proud of one another for making it to a leadership position in the local government; not just for the post but the responsibility they will be shouldering henceforth.
Passang said that he is overwhelmed that his wife has been elected gup. Pema will be the country’s second woman gup. “I’ve always supported my wife and will continue to do so,” he said.
The married couple will now have to maintain a long-distance relationship.
Passang said every relationship will have ups and downs and there are other couples who have lived away from each other and yet still have successful relationships. He said it is the understanding between the couple which will determine the fate of their relationship. “We’ve a strong bond of understanding and have faith in each other,” he said. “I’ve seen many long-distance relationships work out, we’re just 105km away from each other.”
Pema said that now that she has been elected as a local leader she will have to live up to the expectations of the voters. She said that the couple have already experienced being away from each other. She explained that one of her jobs required her to be away from her husband for a few years and that it had not hampered her service delivery. “It’s like any other couple doing their jobs from different places,” she said. “We’ll keep weekends and holidays for us to get together.”
They have a five-year-old son. They tied the knot in 2009. Their marriage was not arranged.
The couple are confident that the long-distance relationship will neither have an adverse impact on their service delivery as local leaders nor will their professional responsibilities affect their marriage.
“Moreover, being in the same profession will allow us to discuss issues with one another and help each other,” Passang said. “One thing for sure is we can’t plan for a second child for another five years,” he added.
They couple said they have already thought about and had discussed these issues prior to making up their minds to contest in the election. While Passang contested and lost in the last National Council election, Pema was working as a Non-Formal Education instructor for the last 10 years.
Besides inspiration from her family members, it was the people of her gewog who encouraged Pema to contest.
Voters of Gesarling wanted at least one contender against the former gup. “When the public encouraged me I could not say no and my husband supported me to go ahead,” she said.
Meanwhile, the couple are waiting for the 10-day petition period to end before they meet and celebrate their individual victories with one another.
Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang