Incumbent gup to call it quits

LG: The incumbent gup of Phuentsholing gewog in Chukha will not re-contest in the upcoming Local Government (LG) elections this year.

However, there are nine candidates eyeing the post.

The gewog’s current mangmi, Chandra Man Rai, is one of them. Having served for more than 12 years as a mangmi, the 35-year-old from Lingden chiwog said public encouragement motivated him to contest.

“However, there are too many contestants,” Chandra Man Rai said, adding that his main interest is to help and support the gewog’s people with development activities.

Although there are nine contestants including himself, Chandra Man Rai has the advantage of being the only contestant in his chiwog sparing him from having to contest in the zomdu round.

Meanwhile, Phuentsholing gewog’s serving geydrung, Nar Bahadur Mongar, will also contest for the post his superior will quit. He is from Pacchu Dara.

“People from my constituency asked me to contest,” he said. “It is also my interest to give it a try.” Nar Bahadur Mongar also said that the future of the post he currently holds is uncertain. He has served as a geydrung for 12 years.

“As of now developments in the gewog has been well on track,” Nar Bahadur Mongar, a class XII graduate said, pointing out that the current gup has done his job exceptionally well.

Nar Bahadur Mongar, however, have to first win from his chiwog. There are two other contestants, Doshing Lepcha and Tashi.

Doshing Lepcha, 45, said he is contesting to develop his geowg with quality leadership by starting at the grassroots. “There is a need to upgrade agriculture, livestock, and horticulture to contribute to the country’s self-sufficiency,” the class X graduate said. “I want to bridge the gap between public and the LG.”

Doshing Lepcha pointed out that the public needs to understand government policies and regulations, and other developments so there can be better public participation.

Meanwhile, Tashi, a 28-year-old graduate of North Bengal University is interested in bringing change. “I want to improve the people’s living standards and develop agricultural production,” Tashi said.  “I also want to improve ecotourism.”

At present, Tashi is in his village in Darjaygaon. He aims to improve roads in all the chiwogs under Phuentsholing gewog.

Phuentsholing gewog will also have two more university graduates contesting for the post of gup.

Tek Bahadur Ghalley, 29, is a B.Com (honours) graduate with five years of experience working as an administrative officer and IT coordinator with the Chiphen Rigphel project. He will represent Deling Marji chiwog. “My main motive is to have improved road access and water supply,” he said.

Tek Bahadur Ghalley also wants to bring and develop facilities in health and education, among many others. The graduate of Kalimpong Government College, India also wants to help those with census problems.

However, Tek Bahadur Ghalley will have to compete with 31-year-old Tara Bir Ghalley from his constituency. Tara Bir Ghalley is a class XII graduate who is currently driving a taxi.

“I want to convert our villages from traditional farming to modern farming using latest technology,” he said. “I want to bring development in agriculture, livestock, and all forestry activities with full dedication.”

Tara Bir Ghalley also said he would look after all other issues in his gewog so people get the maximum benefit.

Meanwhile, Birkha Bahadur Rai, 28 is another university graduate contesting for the Phuentsholing gup post representing Chongaykha chiwog. Currently a farmer, Birkha Bdr Rai graduated with a B.Sc. Degree from Sherubtse College in July 2013.

“I have been waiting for this opportunity since my graduation,” he said, explaining why he hadn’t looked for jobs elsewhere after graduating. “I strongly believe a qualified and experienced person is needed in the LG for rural development activities.”

Birkha Bahadur Rai also said he has been actively participating in all activities in his chiwog and helping people.

There are nine candidates contesting for the gup post, he said, pointing out he wanted to give the public an opportunity to elect the best.

Chongaykha, on the other hand, has one more contestant Passang Tamang. The 37-year-old has been working in construction sector after he graduated from a technical institute in 1999.

Passang Tamang has also worked with Dai Nippon Construction under Jica for about  10 years as a site incharge.

“I have experience in construction,” he said, stressing that in gewog it was all about infrastructural developments such as roads, bridges, and schools.

“I also want to employ jobless youth in construction sector.”

From Kungkha, Sangay Drukpa, 32, is the lone candidate for the gup contest this year. The class XII graduate said he wants to bridge the gap between the people and the government. “This is the best means to serve both people and the government,” the businessman said.

The present Phuentsholing gup, Chandra Bahadur Ghalley of Deling Marji chiwog, meanwhile, is a happy man today.

“I have done my best,” he said. “It is now time for younger generation to take charge.”

Chandra Bahadur Ghalley, who has served as gup since 2003 said that it is time for the younger generation so that they will understand the importance of grassroots development. He said the younger generation would bring new ideas to develop the gewog for the benefit of the people and the country as a whole.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing