Candidate lost in 2018 with DPT 

Tshering Namgyal | Mongar

Securing twice as many votes as her opponent, both on the electronic voting machine (EVM) and postal ballots, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s candidate Karma Lhamo won the bye-election in Mongar constituency with 4,149 against 2,035 of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s Dorji Youden.

The morning chilly fog in most parts of Mongar gradually turned into a light shower yesterday afternoon. However, that did not deter many from turning up at the polling stations.

Despite the busy paddy transplantation season, 55.8 percent of the voters voted as many voters showed up in large groups. While some voters walked to the respective polling stations, others hitchhiked in boleros and private cars.

Karma Lhamo secured 1,703 postal ballots and 2,446 EVM votes while Dorji Youden could manage only 856 postal ballots and 1,179 EVM votes.

Except for her own gewog, Chali that gave her 545 EVM votes over Karma Lhamo’s 180, Dorji Youden lost to Karma Lhamo in the other four gewogs.

“She is the only candidate from our gewog who stood for election so far and it’s our responsibility to support her and vote for her,” Sangay Dema from Pangjakpa village, Chali said.

Karma Lhamo received similar support from her gewog, Tsakaling gewog, where she secured 467 against 66 for Dorji Youden.    

Karma Lhamo got 916 and 358 votes from Mongar and Drepong gewogs, while Dorji Youden got 326 and 140 votes respectively. In Tsamang gewog, Karma Lhamo got 360 votes against Dorji Youden’s 131 votes respectively.

Karma Lhamo’s advantage over her opponent, according to voters, was mainly being a ruling party candidate, her experience, and strong pledges, among others.

Blacktopping Kilikhar-Laptsa in Drepong gewog was a popular pledge among voters of Mongar and Drepong gewogs.

A voter from Kilikhar, Lhazin said she voted for Karma Lhamo because of her pledge to blacktop the road. “The road benefits us immensely and when the ruling candidate promised to improve it, it could happen,” she said.

A voter from Mongar gewog Tsheten said he chose Karma Lhamo over Dorji Youden because of her experience over the fresh candidate and being vocal so that she could represent their issues well in Parliament. “With experience comes knowledge and only with knowledge the MP can raise our concerns well in Parliament.”

Some voted for the candidate of the ruling party since it had more chances of delivering the pledges than the opposition.

Karma Lhamo thanked her supporters who called her after the results were out. She said she was overwhelmed by the result and that she was further determined to work for the benefit of her constituents.

Dorji Youden said, more than winning, it was the experience and knowledge she had gained during the course of over a month of the election process.

The 22 polling stations across the five gewogs remained open from 8am until 6pm.

From the total postal ballots received, 101 were rejected. No ballot paper inside envelope B, no competent witness, wrong citizenship identity card number and no identity declaration form (IDC) were reasons for rejection, according to election officials.

Mongar demkhong has a total of 11,074 registered voters and with 6,184 votes the voter turnout was 55.8 percent.