Choki Wangmo | Tsirang
The gewogs throughout Tsirang and Dagana have more aspiring candidates in the upcoming local government (LG) elections than in 2016.
Sources said that compared to the last LG election in 2016, the number of aspiring candidates at both the chiwog and gewog levels has increased by threefold.
Former Khebisa gup, Namgay, who is also re-contesting in the upcoming election, said that Thomgang chiwog had only two gup candidates in 2016. “There are nine gup candidates this year from the chiwog.”
Former Karmaling gup in Dagana, Gyan Bahadur Subba, said that there are six gup candidates in his chiwog. “This is a drastic increase from only one candidate in 2016.”
In Tsirang’s Mendrelgang gewog, one of the chiwogs has eight gup candidates.
Many in the locality are attributing the increased number of aspiring candidates to the disruption caused by the current pandemic, which rendered many jobless.
Some said that the LG post has become lucrative due to incentives and other opportunities.
Former Rangthangling gup, Bal Bahadur Tamang, said that people are now more aware of the importance of LG, so they are showing more interest. “The LG works closely with people and can bring meaningful impact. The government has also encouraged participation through the media.”
He said that now, the pay is good too. “Before, when I joined LG service some three decades ago, the monthly income was Nu 100.”
Former Sergithang gup Man Bir Rai said that not many realised the importance of LG in the past. “Now the public understands the importance of the LG. Even the number of people who are attending the dhamngoi zomdu has increased this time compared to 2016.”
It was learnt that most aspiring candidates are young.
With the exception of one gup who is still undecided, 11 former gups in Tsirang are re-contesting in the upcoming elections. Similarly, except for one, 13 former gups are re-contesting in Dagana.
Most of them said that the first term was just enough to gain experience, and they would need another term to complete the intended development work in their gewogs.
Some gups claimed they are contesting because the community members asked them to run again.
“The public has placed its trust in me for many terms. They want me to recontest,” said a former gup in Tsirang who has served for 21 years.
Meanwhile, the dhamngoi zomdu in Tsirang started on November 5 from the four gewogs—Barshong, Gosarling, Tsholingkhar and Sergithang. According to the election officer, from the six chiwogs, there were five gup candidates.
In Dagana, the dhamngoi zomdu started from Dorona gewog yesterday. The returning officer Tashi Dorji said that there was only one gup candidate from Dorona chiwog.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has extended the last date for registration of postal ballot to November 10.
According to the ECB it was being done in order to facilitate higher postal ballot registration and to reduce crowding on the poll day. The commission stated that it is necessary given the current pandemic situation and to mitigate the risks of Covid-19 local transmission.
Interested registered voters can register for the postal ballot online through ECB’s website or through this link: https://berms.ecb.bt/postal/registration.
For more information, contact ECB’s toll-free number 2008 during office hours.