Karma Dorji prioritises building the promised 50-bed hospital in Nganglam

Kelzang Wangchuk | Nganglam

After 13 years and four rounds of elections, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) stronghold in Pemagatshel is broken.

The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), riding on the advantage of being the ruling party, managed to break into the DPT’s stronghold in the highly anticipated bye-election held yesterday, winning Nganglam constituency.

Preliminary results as of last night show that DNT’s Karma Dorji, who is also a founding member of the party, won 56.35 votes of the total 5,236 votes cast through various means in the bye-election held amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Karma Dorji, secured 2,951 votes to DPT candidate Richen Pelzang’s 2,285 votes yesterday.

On the postal ballot, Karma Dorji secured 1,424 postal ballots, 448 from mobile voting ballots, 144 mobile electoral machine voting (EVM) initiated in the bye-election for voters  above  the age of 65 years and those living with disabilities. On the poll day, yesterday, Karma Dorji got 935 votes cast on the electoral voting machine from the 13 polling stations in three gewogs.

Rinchen Pelzang got 1,111 postal ballots, 320 ballots from mobile voting, 128 mobile EVM votes and 726 EVM votes from the 13 polling stations.

Both the candidates from Decheling gewog couldn’t go to the polling station at the Decheling Lower Secondary School because of the lockdown and availed the  mobile voting facility.  Speaking to Kuensel from Nganglam town last evening, Karma Dorji said he is happy that the people in the constituency supported him this time. This is the third time DNT’s Karma Dorji is contesting the parliamentary elections. In 2018, he lost to DPT’s late MP Choida Jamtsho.

“I didn’t win, but people in the demkhong won the bye-election, as the election was not either for the parties or the candidates. Since the opposition and ruling parties were already elected, the bye-election was for the people,” Karma Dorji said.

He said people in the demkhong had supported DPT in the past, as they believed DPT would be the ruling party, and DPT had brought many developments and changes in the dzongkhag, especially in Nganglam demkhong.

“People in the demkhong supported me this time despite it being  a DPT’s stronghold because they knew the advantages of having a candidate in the ruling party,” Karma Dorji said.

The 45-year old Businessman said he would work hard to fulfil all his pledges he made during the campaign period adding that the construction of the 50-bedded hospital in Nganglam is the priority, as it was decided based on the population and Nganglam being a business centre for the eastern region.

With support assured from the government, Karma Dorji said his  pledges would be fulfilled, 100 percent. “My pledges were  decided after discussing with my party and party members. I will give my best and will not let my people down,” Karma Dorji said.

Meanwhile, of the 7,426 eligible registered voters in the demkhong, 2,535 voted through postal ballots, 768 through mobile voting ballots, 272 through the facility extended for elderly voters  and voters with disabilities. On the poll day, despite heavy rains  1,661 turned up at the 13 polling stations to cast their ballot.

DPT’s Rinchen Pelzang couldn’t be contacted at the time of filing this story last night.