LG: As the September 27 poll day nears, the Election Commission of Bhutan  (ECB), on September 12, notified that no large gatherings, including archery and khuru matches, will be allowed during ‘Blessed Rainy Day’.

The commission notified the returning officers of the 20 dzongkhags to allow people to mark ‘Bishwa Karma Puja’ and ‘Blessed Rainy Day’ but to also advise them to refrain from gathering in large groups.

The ECB notice states that the commission received a request from the people to allow them to celebrate ‘Bishwa Karma Puja’ and ‘Blessed Rainy Day’. “In this regard, as these traditional annual events, which would be impossible and also impractical to stop it, you may allow people to observe the events,” the notice states.

But the notice also asks the returning officers to caution people to avoid large gatherings or have any activity related to any supporters or candidates participating in the local government elections that may be perceived as a violation of the code of conduct under the electoral laws.

Though the notice does not specify the number of people allowed in a gathering, Trashigang’s electoral officer, Tshering Phuntsho, said that people have been informed to avoid large gatherings. “We have advised them to avoid gathering of more families during these events.”

The electoral officer has also asked people to refrain from playing archery and khuru while marking ‘Blessed Rainy Day’.

Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong’s returning officer, Sonam Wangchuk, said he informed people that only small gatherings will be allowed.

The upcoming local government election candidates have also been asked to refrain from mingling with other families on ‘Blessed Rainy Day’. “Picnics will also be not allowed,” Sonam Wangchuk said.

Trashiyangtse’s Ramjar-Khamdhang’s returning officer, Anok Kumar Rai, said people have been seeking permission to be allowed to play archery and khuru matches but he could not entertain the requests.

Meanwhile, if people need to conduct rituals, it will be allowed with permission from the returning officer and under the vigilance of observer.

Tempa Wangdi | Trashigang

Supported by Bhutan Media Foundation and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation