A re-election will occur 

LG: Samrang gewog was not surprised by who they got as their gup-elect on September 27, but when the result for the mangmi post was declared, even the candidates were taken aback.

Of the three mangmi candidates contesting in the second local government election, Dhan Bahadhur Rai lost after securing only 45 votes of the 163 cast. Candidates Kinga and Panjika Gurung got 59 votes each.

The result came as a shock because before poll day and during the campaign, going by the numbers of supporters and family members, Dhan Bahadhur Rai was seen as a sure winner.

Voters had assumed that either Dhan Bahadhur Rai or Panjika Gurung would win with a difference of one or two votes.

Dhan Bahadhur had lived his entire life in the village and almost 30 of the voters were related to him. Panjika Gurung resides in Gomtu.

While Kinga, 28, who is originally from Mongar had less supporters, he still made a good impression among many of the elders in the village. He lived in the gewog for the last nine years as a farmer after high school.

Going by the results, Panjika Gurung definitely had support from voters living outside the gewog. She received nine postal ballot votes and 50 EVM votes. Members of her family had travelled all the way to the gewog to vote on poll day.

Kinga, on the other hand, had support from only a few people. But he still managed to secure 53 EVM and six postal ballot votes.

“I thought I would lose to either of the two other candidates but I was completely surprised when they announced the result,” he said, adding if elected, he do not have promises but would definitely work hard and raise issues in the dzongkhag.

Panjika Gurung, 35, who returned to the village to contest for the post said she thought she was in competition with Dhan Bahadhur Rai and would lose to him since she had less support.

“It was not just men but also many women who thought that I, as a woman wouldn’t be able to shoulder the responsibility especially in addressing human-wildlife conflict,” she said. “But they don’t realise the mangmi post is more than just about chasing elephants at night,” she added. “Yet if elected, there are so many things I want to do for gewog starting from solving alcoholism issues and bring basic developments.”

Both the candidates, along with the dzongkhag’s election office, are waiting for directives from the Election Commission of Bhutan for the re-election.

This time the result will depend on those who voted for Dhan Bahadhur Rai the last time.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Samdrupjongkhar