Laya gewog, where the highest number of voters is concentrated in Gasa swung the outcome of the National Council election in favour of council elect, Dorji Khandu on April 20. 

Despite securing the least number of votes, 15, from postal ballots and winning the minimum EVM votes from three gewogs of Khatoed, Khamaed, and Lunana, Dorji Khandu managed to secure 81.06 percent of the 686 votes in Laya to win a seat in the upper house from Gasa.

Among other candidates, Kinley Dorji secured about 12.39 percent and Dr Phurb Dorji 6.55 percent of the EVM votes in Laya. 

Except for Kinley Dorji from Khamaed gewog, the other two candidates won in their respective gewogs. However, he won the highest number of votes from Lunana gewog that had no candidates. Dr Phurb Dorji won the most votes from two gewogs of Khatoed and Khamaed. 

“I had low expectation from the lower part of the dzongkhag. However, I was confident in my gewog, Laya, and Lunana that has high voter concentration,” the council elect said. “I could have won with better votes if the voter turnout had been better.”

Gasa approached the election with an increase in registered voters by about eight percent. In the last election,   the dzongkhag had 1,840 registered voters while this year, it had 2,000 registered voters. 

Of the 2,000 voters, Laya has 34 percent, followed by Lunana and Khamaed with 24.9 percent each. Khatoed gewog has the least number of registered voters at 15.9 percent. 

The poll day saw Dorji Khandu winning 39.1 percent of EVM votes followed closely by Dr Phurb Dorji at 30.91 percent and Kinley Dorji at 29.18 percent. 

Of the 178 postal ballot votes, Dr Phurb Dorji won 116 postal ballot votes followed by 47 for Kinley Dorji and 15 for the council elect, Dorji Khandu.

Kinley Dorji said the voter turnout in Lunana was poor. “I did my best as per the rules and regulations. The common forum for Lunana was not satisfactory.” He added that he has received few calls from political parties. However, the candidate has not yet decided to return for an election again. 

 Dr Phurb Dorji, who lost by 19 votes, said he respects the choice of the people. 

With 1,511 people voting in the council election, Gasa saw an increase in voter turnout by 2.08 percent from 2013. 

The council elect said that his experience of campaigning in 2013 as Khatoed_Laya candidate helped him while campaigning for the Council election. He was the lone candidate to send his representative to Lunana for the poll day.

Dorji Khandu secured 36.20 percent of the total votes while Dr Phurb Dorji won 34.94 percent and Kinley Dorji, 28.86 percent.

Nima  | Gasa