Namesake beats incumbent for a seat in the council

In the second National Council (NC) election in 2013, the NC-elect Tashi Phuntsho’s only contestant, Karma Gyeltshen gave him stiff competition.

With only two candidates then, Karma Gyeltshen was leading in the postal ballot count, which made Tashi Phuntsho jittery. However, when the votes from the machines were counted, Tashi Phuntsho won by a good margin.

With six candidates in the fray this year, there was no chance for the incumbent. Another Karma Gyeltshen has entered the fray and proved to be his nemesis. Karma Gyeltshen, this year’s council-elect had resigned to contest for a post of thrompon and became a victim of the change in the policy. He waited to contest for the National Council.

Before the poll day, there were talks that from the six candidates, candidates from Yangtse Throm and Yangtse gewog had the better chance, as they were popular in Boomdeling gewog, a huge vote bank and no candidate.

The incumbent, contesting from Yalang had to compete for votes from five other gewogs and it is there he fared the worst. He got the least votes from among the six on April 20.

The council-elect secured a total of 1,952 votes, much of it from the EVM machines.

He secured only 577 through postal ballots lesser than two other contestants. However, his 1,375 votes through the EVM gave him the victory. Tashi Phuntsho got only 222 EVM votes and 403 postal ballots.

Voting pattern indicate that most of the voters voted for candidates representing their gewog. At two polling stations in Ramjar and Toedtsho, none of the people voted for him. At a polling station in Jamkhar, he secured only six votes. Karma Gyeltshen also failed to secure a single vote in two polling stations at Ramjar and Yalang gewogs.

Like in Ramjar gewog, where Karma Gyeltshen and Thinley were not popular, Phurpa Gyeltshen, Sonam Tenzin, Ngawang Tashi and Tashi Phuntsho received the least vote from Yangtse gewog and Yangtse throm. Ngawang Tashi’s highest vote was from his own gewog Tongmajangsa with 446 but he got only 10 votes from Boomdeling gewog.

Losing with a huge margin and securing the lowest votes among six candidates, the incumbent said he didn’t expect the result although he also didn’t expect to win the race. “I did my best in the last five years and visited more than 10 times to every chiwogs, but it is difficult to understand people’s expectation,” he said. “Citing the margin of the votes, the incumbent said he will not participate in future elections again.”

The council-elect, a former teacher, said he would focus on housing timber permit and access on teacher’s workload when he discusses legislation in the Council. He also said priority on issues related to contractors and ESP and GSP employees would also be looked.

From the total of 18,355 registered voters only 5,411 turned up for EVM and 3,646 used the postal ballot service from the 4,898 who registered for the service. Voter turn up percentage for EVM was 40.2 and 72 percent for postal ballot.

Tashi Tenzin | Trashiyangtse