The other seven have chosen to contest for various reasons 

LG: Except for one, seven incumbent gups in Zhemgang have decided to re-contest.

Most of them said they have decided to re-contest because of unfinished works and people’s insistence in their respective gewogs.

Goshing Gup, Sangay Letho, 42, from Budashi chiwog said he is re-contesting. “Some people insisted that I re-contest as I have some incomplete works for the gewog,” he said. He has served as gup for 11 years.

He said all five chiwogs in his gewog have a contestant each. “Who to choose is the people’s right and I would not regret if I lose,” he said.

Gup Sangay Lethro said he has connected all five chiwogs in his gewog with farm roads in two and half years after the Panbang-Nganglam highway was constructed. He added that should he be elected he will construct a farm road between Kaktong in Ngangla and Lichibi in Goshing.

Gup Sangay said Goshing gewog was categorised as the most poverty stricken area of Zhemgang and that Lamtang village is the poorest. “I have worked hard in improving the livelihoods of the people here and raised their poverty ranking from 64 percent to about 12 today,” he said.

Ngangla Gup, Dorji Wangchuk, 55, said some people have expressed their support for him but he does not know the ground realities.

He said farm road construction for the poverty stricken villages of Dunmang and Kamjong are ongoing and people want him to re-contest so that he can completed unfinished work. This was Dorji Wangchuk’s first term as gup.

Trong Gup, also named Dorji Wangchuk, has a slightly different reason for re-contesting. “I have gained a lot of experience and I think I am competent to be gup,” he said. Dorji Wangchuk has served as gup for four terms.

Dorji Wangchuk said he should not back off with so many years of experience. I don’t know if the people will opt for me but I can still be an option for them. “I feel I should be able to serve the people better,” he said. Gup Dorji Wangchuk, 46, is contesting from Tshanglajong Zurphey chiwog.

Ngangla Gup, Rinchen Wangdi, 51, from Sonamthang chiwog, has also served as a chimi in the past. He said he is re-contesting given the people’s insistence. He has 10 farm roads under construction and wants to complete them in the next term.

He claims to have set up some 54 biogas plants which was not in the plan. This is Rinchen Wangdi’s first term as gup.

Bjoka Gup Tshering Wangchuk also wants to re-contest to complete unfinished works and because of the people’s insistence.

He said there are no other contestants from his own chiwog, Barphong although there is another former gup contesting from another chiwog. The 41-year-old gup also served as gup from 2002 to 2005.

Bardo Gup, Kunzang Jurmey, said while initially reluctant, the people approached him given that the Chamkharchu hydroelectric power project was coming up in the gewog.

“With encouragement from the people, I also now feel that I should re-contest,” Gup Kunzang Gurmey, 43, said. He added he is confident that he can serve the people even better than before.

At 51-years, Shingkhar Gup Nidup, a retired soldier said the post of gup is an important one and should be held by someone capable and experienced. “Although I have served only one term, I feel I am competent enough in terms of experience.”

But Phangkhar Gup Rinchen Lungten will miss the upcoming elections on health grounds. He is on regular medication as he had fallen off a cliff while on official duty.

“I am resigning with no regrets but great satisfaction as I have been able to serve the country as a gup since 2005,” the 45-year old said.

Nima Wangdi | Kheng