From 12 aspiring candidates 

Nine of the 12 aspiring candidates from Samtse have been selected to vie for a seat in the National Council (NC) elections next month.

Zomdus, where a candidate is selected through a majority vote of the voters present completed on March 6 in the dzongkhag.

There are 15 gewogs in the dzongkhag. However, only eight gewogs and the Samtse throm saw aspiring candidates.

Badrinath Bhattarai from Sang-Ngag-Chhoeling, Narayan Dahal from Yoeseltse, Dhan Kumar Ghalley from Pemaling, Tirthaman Rai from Doongtoed, Shadeo Rai Tendruk and Ugyen Lama from Tading and Samten Lepcha from Samtse were the lone candidates from their respective gewogs. All were nominated.

While Badrinath Bhattarai, 59, worked with the agriculture ministry, Narayan Dahal, 40, is an ex-Bank of Bhutan employee. Dhan Kumar Ghalley, 51, and Tirthaman Rai, 31, are former teachers.

Ugyen Lama, 29, is a civil engineer, while Shadeo Rai, 27, is a graduate.

Former BBS employee Chhatrapati Phuyel, 51, from Dophuchen and businessman Ngawang Nidup, 28, from Samtse throm also booked their place in the April 20 election.

Chhatrapati Phuyel defeated 58-year-old Hari Prasad Adhikari, a former agriculture officer. Ngawang Nidup beat Sonam Gyamtsho, 55, and Dhurba Raj Gurung, 50, both former teachers.

A total of 18 zomdus were held starting February 28.

The seven gewogs of Namgaycholing, Tashicholing, Norgaygang, Sangaycholing, Ugyentse, Norbugang and Phuntshopelri did not have candidates.

According to the Election Act, in the case of more than one aspiring candidate in a gewog or a throm, each shall be given the opportunity to address the zomdu.

The person with the highest number of votes shall be the gewog or throm’s candidate to contest the NC election in the dzongkhag.

The candidate selected at a zomdu shall complete and file before the last date of nomination, with the concerned Returning Officer, all the required nomination documents duly countersigned by the local leaders of the gewog or the throm.

Election officials in Samtse told Kuensel that the candidates would have until March 19 to file their nomination papers. “Nominations should be filed within March 19,” an election official said.

According to the election commission, the candidates will be allowed to campaign from March 20, and can starting that day, apply for public fund for the election campaign.

The election officials said that the electoral roll is being updated and that the exact total number of voters in the dzongkhag would be known soon when the final electoral roll is out.

However, according to records with the election commission, Samtse dzongkhag had registered voter population of 44,957 as of May 8, 2017.

MB Subba | Samtse