Thinley Namgay

The final common forum (CF) in Jarey Gewog in Lhuentse concluded yesterday, but only 35 participants from Artobi-Nange-Nae and Ladrong Chiwogs attended.

Lhuentse, with two constituencies, has a total of 18,738 registered voters, including 9,872 females and 8,866 males across eight gewogs.

The last CF for the Gangzur-Minjey constituency, held on December 31 at Khoma Gewog and Babtong ECR, saw 96 attendees.

CFs in Lhuentse were conducted since December 18 in 27 different venues.

Gangzur-Minjey, with 9,461 registered voters, witnessed 617 participants across its 13 CFs.

On the other hand, Maenbi-Tsaenkhar, with 9,277 registered voters, had 645 attendees in its 14 CFs.

Election officials attribute the low turnout to repetitive pledges, with voters expressing diminished excitement compared to the primary round when different pledges were made by five political parties.

Challenges such as winter occupations for additional family income, engagement of men in construction work, and others tending to cattle contributed to the low attendance.

Despite challenges, voters express confidence in candidates from both the constituencies, considering their qualifications and diverse experiences.

The voters hope for a government that can address the common issues in Lhuentse, including human-wildlife conflict, inadequate irrigation water, drinking water, and poor-quality farm roads, and the development of gewog centre roads.

Kurtoed, with the maximum terrace fields in the dzongkhag, faces issues of insufficient irrigation water despite past promises from governments.

Demand for a double-lane road between Gangola and Lhuentse, improved medical facilities, and proper town planning is being voiced by the residents of the dzongkhag.

The high cost of commodities in Lhuentse compared to the capital is attributed to transportation charges. Better roads can attract tourists and pilgrims, given the dzongkhag’s fame for sacred sites like Singye Dzong and Nyechen Rinchen Bumpa.

Candidates from both the constituencies pledged to address these immediate problems facing the people.