LG: It came as a surprise to many when 26-year-old Karma Dema defeated his uncle during a chiwog zomdu to be nominated as a gup candidate from Chhenangri chiwog in Dewathang gewog.

And today she is the lone female gup candidate in 11 gewogs in Samdrupjongkhar.

She will against two male opponents, Karma Phuntsho from Bangtsho chiwog and Leki Wangchuk from Domphu-Dungkarchhoeling chiwog in the upcoming local government election this month.

She defeated her uncle by securing 69 out of 95 votes.

Inspired by Dasho Neten Zangmo, Karma Dema, who is a finance graduate from Gaeddu College of Business Studies, said that when she worked with the Samdrupjongkhar Initiative on contract, she got to communicate with villagers closely and to learn about their problems.


“That was when I realised I should do something for the community and contesting for gup was the best decision,” Karma Dema said. “I have learned from Dasho Neten how important rural development is.”

Karma Dema said that she has heard people saying that they might not vote for her because of her age and gender. She said that it is not about winning or losing but it is about wanting to do something for the community.

“But I am not discouraged. Rather this encourages me to stand and work hard and to prepare,” she said, adding that she might be able to change the mentality of people that finding a job doesn’t mean one should head towards urban centres.  “I know this is a biggest challenge for me to contest against two men, but whether to contest or not is entirely my decision. I want to change people’s attitude towards women.”

The gewog saw six aspirants for the post of gup, of which three lost during the chiwog zomdu nomination, and three mangmis who got through after securing more Yes votes.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Samdrupjongkhar


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