Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Mongar dzongkhag court dismissed an allegation against the gup-elect of Ngatshang gewog last week.

Two gup candidates filed a joint petition against the gup elect Ugyen Yangzom and two individuals from the gewog in the Mongar dzongkhag court on December 27.

Gup candidates Tshering Dorji and Sonam Lhamo alleged that gup-elect Ugyen Yangzom had made two individuals, from Pelshuphu in Ngatshang gewog, impersonate a BBS employee and record MP3 voice clips to influence people to vote for her.

They alleged the voice clips were distributed in a Wechat group called ‘Yadi Tshogchen’. They also alleged that the photos of candidates were also shared to campaign in the group, which is illegal.

The gup candidates claimed that after finding out about the voice clips on the evening of December 22, they consulted the Election Commission’s media focal person to crosscheck and learned that the group was not authorized to campaign.

Tshering Dorji said they then went to the Office of the Returning Officer of Dramitse Ngatshang demkhong. “The returning officer didn’t accept our complaint, saying that it was lodged after the election and a post-election case must be filed at the court.”

He claimed the campaign on behalf of a third party is totally against the Election Act and that Ugyen Yangzom has not won the election through fair means but with the help of two individuals’ illegal campaigning on social media.

“Our allegations are against both the candidate and the third-party campaigners but whether the candidate is involved or not will be found out by the court,” Tshering Dorji said.

However, Mongar dzongkhag court ruled the allegations were baseless after conducting a miscellaneous hearing yesterday.

The court stated that although a voice clip was circulated during the election period, the two gup candidates had not filed the case to the election dispute settlement body established to address election-related issues instantly, in line with Section 466 of the Election Act 2008, and Sections 2.1.3 and 4 of the Election Rules 2018.

“The case was not filed during the election period,” the court stated.

“Moreover, the two individuals were not representatives of the gup-elect, appointed in accordance with Section 476 (B) of the Election Act 2008 or authorized by the gup-elect. In addition, there is no clear evidence that the act has affected any voter to cast their vote freely,” the court stated.

While the gup-elect was not available for comment, one of the men alleged to have campaigned for the gup-elect said they did not campaign but joked about it in a family Wechat group of cousins. “One of the members converted it to mp3 and shared it in the other group.”