LG: Despite Samdrupjongkhar seeing a large number of women candidates from 10 of its 11 gewogs for the second local government (LG) election, only a few were elected.

Of the 25 women who contested for various posts, only eight were elected while one got the same number of votes as her male counterpart.

Two are thromde tshogpas-elect, five are tshogpas-elect and one is a mangmi-elect.

Pema is the mangmi-elect of Gomdar gewog and the lone woman mangmi in the dzongkhag.

Pema had also contested for the gup post in the first LG election but was not elected. She re-contested this time to prove to people that women can also carry out office work.

“I initially decided to contest for gup but the villagers instead asked me to contest for mangmi because they had already decided who they wanted as gup,” she said. “But the result still surprised me.”

However, Tashi Zangmo from Pemathang gewog who was the lone female mangmi in the first LG lost the post this time by seven votes to a male candidate, Mon Raj Chown: 317 to 324 votes.

Another two women mangmi candidates, Sangay Lhamo from Orong and Gow Moti Rai from Langchenphu also could not woo enough voters.

But a re-election will decide if Panjika Gurung of Samrang will become the gewog’s first woman mangmi. Both mangmi candidates got 59 votes each.

The lone woman gup candidate, Karma Dema from Dewathang, despite being a graduate, and thrompon candidate, Dechen Wangmo of Samdrupjongkhar thromde tshogde, both were not elected.

In the thromde tshogde, of the three women candidates in three constituencies, Cheki from Samdrupgatshel and Seldon from Samdrupjongkhar Maed are the thromde tshogpas-elect after securing more Yes votes.

Dewathang gewog got at least one woman LG leader after 136 voters from Chhenangri Rishor elected Dawa Zangmo as their tshogpa.

Four of the five tshogpas-elect are Yenten Tshomo of Orong gewog, Tashi Tshomo of Pemathang gewog, Sonam Dema of Serthig gewog and Kelzang Choden of Wangphu gewog.

Phuntshothang gewog albeit having the largest number of candidates failed to produce any women candidates.

Most of the women candidates who were not elected said that voters may still prefer men when it comes to responsibilities outside the home. However, a few, especially those who lost by few votes, believed luck played a role.

Eight chiwogs in Samdrupjongkhar do not have tshogpas-elect. The tshogpa post in two of the eight chiwogs became vacant after the tshogpa aspirants got more No votes, while the rest did not have candidates.

Meanwhile, the three returning officers in Samdrupjongkhar have not yet received any written complaints or petitions regarding the election results.

Yangchen C Rinzin |  Samdrupjongkhar