LG: Despite being the largest gewog with the largest population in Pemagatshel, Shumar gewog has only two aspiring gup candidates.
The low number of gup candidates in Shumar is usual according to voters.
However, the gewog has four mangmi candidates and five vying for the post of tshogpa in each of the five chiwogs.
The voters of Shumar gewog will decide between a candidate with experience and one with higher qualifications on poll day scheduled for September 27.
Securing 274 Yes and 64 No votes, former gup Lepo, 56, was nominated as the gup candidate from Nangkor chiwog.
Sangay Chophel, 29, an LLB graduate was nominated from Khothakpa-Yalang chiwog after securing 157 Yes votes and nine No votes during the chiwog zomdu.
Going by the results, both Lepo and Sangay Chophel have the full support of their respective chiwogs. However, both the candidates will have to woo voters from the other three chiwogs.
Lepo who has also served as a mangmi and then gup for more than a decade, said he had actually decided not to re-contest because of his age and requests from his children to retire and go on religious retreat. However, people from his chiwog repeatedly insisted that he re-contest.
“People genuinely felt I should re-contest and serve Shumar one last time. I was glad someone is contesting from another chiwog because I’m old and it’s tiring, yet I decided to re-contest for the villagers.”
He added: “I know some are not happy with me because I’m straightforward, but I know my own conscience and what I’m doing. I believe in raising issues and we need to be strict if we’ve to implement developmental activities.”
It is different for Sangay Chophel. He is interested in politics and also serving the people. Local government presented him with the best platform to meet these interests.
“I thought it was not necessary for me to look for a job only in the urban areas. I can use the knowledge I possess in rural areas too,” he said. “My father expired before I could do anything for him, but now I want to stay in my village and serve my mother and villagers as gratitude.”
He hopes his decision will encourage other youths to participate in the local government.
With common forums are scheduled to start soon, both the candidates are adamant that the forum is the best place to showcase themselves instead of a door-to-door campaign. They said they cannot make promises or offer anything more than activities already mentioned in the 11th Plan.
But both candidates are confident they can work hard to implement the planned development activities requiring no budget to be returned to the government which would otherwise indicate poor leadership.
Lepo said that if he loses the election he will gladly help the new gup given his experience. Sangay Chophel said, if elected, he wants to serve all the chiwogs without being biased and to seek advice from elders and the former gup.
While both candidates said working hard is more important than qualifications or experience, some of the voters believe having an experienced gup will bring in more development. Some, however, said it was time Shumar has a new gup.
Yangchen C Rinzin | Pemagatshel