With a day left for the campaign period to end, the common forum scheduled today for Wachey chiwog in Lunana was cancelled with the candidates opting for the door-to-door campaign.

The lone female candidate from Khamed Lunana constituency, Yeshey Dem from Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa could not go for the door-to-door campaign at Wachey Chiwog.

The candidates of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Tshogpa (BKP), and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) left for Wachey chiwog that has 13 households.

The common forum for Lunana gewog began on September 10. The forum ended yesterday at Lhedi chiwog.

In both the common forums, only about 20 voters turned up and saw not more than four female voters. The candidates said male voters in Lunana are more aware of politics than female voters.

DPT’s candidate Dhendup said men are aware of political parties and its pledges while women were less aware. “Female voters rarely turned up for the meetings,” he said. “It might be because they are busy with household chores or they don’t have the habit of attending such meetings.”

He added that some chiwogs were not aware about the common forum. “However, the response during the door-to-door campaign was good. They said the presidents’ debate and constituency debates helped them choose,” said Dhendup.

Considering a higher voter concentration at Thangza and Tshojong chiwogs, DNT candidate Yeshey Dem said she expected the turn out at the first common forum in Tshojong to be not less than 50. However, the forum saw 24 voters from more than 70 households.

“Only one female attended the forum at Lhedi. Women were less interested in political discussions and they don’t watch constituency debates,” said Yeshey Dem.

Yeshey Dem said some voters she met shared on the need to vote for change. “Some had already decided whom to vote for after watching the presidents’ and constituency debates. However, there are some who are not at all aware about the election,” she said.

The candidates of PDP and BKP who were in Lunana could not be reached for the comments.

Meanwhile, residents said female voters are engaged with household chores and herding yaks away from home.

It is said that men are the decision-makers at home and were also the most influential in the community because they have more acquaintances outside to seek information.

Save for DPT’s candidate Dhendup who reached Lunana a day ahead of the other three candidates, the campaign in Lunana began from September 9. They were involved in the common forum from September 10.

The candidates had to cover more than 185 households spread across 13 villages in less than five days. The gewog in the past elections has played a vital role in deciding the election results.

The candidates shared about their concerns on limited campaign time in Lunana. They had to wait for two days at Paro because of bad weather, which did not allow the flight to Lunana.

Nima | Gasa