Both chiwogs did not have tshogpas for the first local government also

LG: Without any candidates, the posts of tshogpa for Tshoduen and Damsagang Toed chiwogs in Samrang gewog are once again vacant.

The lone tshogpa candidate for Tshoduen was disqualified while the tshogpa aspirant in Damsagang Toed failed in the functional literacy test.

The two chiwogs also did not have tshogpa candidates in the first local government election. However, there are also no settlements in both the chiwogs.

Although there are three thram holders in Tshoduen chiwog, they are either living in other chiwogs or in Thimphu, which means that even if a tshogpa candidate was elected, the chiwog, without any households, would still remain empty.

The Election Act says that to qualify as a tshogpa candidate, the aspirant should have nominations from at least five households, but the chiwog has only three.

The candidate had returned to the chiwog following retirement and decided to contest but was disqualified during the scrutinisation of documents process.

It was no different for Damsagang Toed chiwog that has only about seven thram holders. None of these thram holders reside in the chiwog.

When the National Integrated Livestock Farm (mega farm) project came in, the project had acquired the entire chiwog’s land. The thram holders were compensated with land substitution, which is still under process with the National Land Commission.

This means there will be no thram holders in the chiwog and no registered voters to contest or vote from this chiwog.

Some said that when the delimitation took place in 2011, the chiwogs were still empty yet they were demarcated as separate chiwogs because going by the Constitution, a gewog should have at least five chiwogs.

And with Damsagang Toed being acquired for the project, it was not clear if the chiwog would be dissolved or not as expressed by the villagers.

According to the former gup, MB Gurung, the chiwogs are empty because of security issues and human-wildlife conflict.

Samrang was clubbed with Pemathang gewog until 2011 when it was separated as an independent gewog. But only three chiwogs had households. That too only 19 in total back then.

The entire gewog today has only 29 households and 276 registered voters in the three chiwogs. But only about a hundred people live in the villages.

Election officials said that when the delimitation took place, there were about 22 households in the entire gewog. The delimitation was conducted based on a delimitation draft submitted by the works and human settlement ministry.

Even if the chiwog is empty the election commission will call for elections to fill in the vacant demkhong irrespective of whether there are candidates.

If there are still no aspirants, the chiwogs will have to do without tshogpas.

The officials added that five chiwogs are necessary because Samrang is a gewog. The chiwog cannot be dissolved unless a re-delimitation takes place, which usually occurs every 10 years.

Meanwhile,  Ngangtshothang Toed chiwog voted for Moni Raj Limbu with 44 votes; 39 voters from Ngangtshothang Maed voted for Kishore Rai and with 18 Yes votes. Man Bahadhur Sunwar is the Damsagang Maed tshogpa-elect.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Samdrupcholing