Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Pemaling (Biru) gewog in Samtse will have the same gup, Khem Raj Ghalley, for the fourth time.

The 49-year-old has served as gup since 2005.

Khem Raj Ghalley managed to secure 960 votes against two strong contenders, who secured 898 and 634 votes.

Although it was a tough competition, he said he was confident about winning.

“People voted for me because I had a clear mission and vision. They were satisfied with my services as a gup.”

According to him, six months before the poll day on December 22, about 90 percent of the voters supported him.

“However, on the poll day, there were some changes.”

Khem Raj Ghalley said when he became the gup in 2005, Pemaling didn’t have a school, electricity, or roads.

“There was no water connection. School, roads, and electricity were available in Gola Bazaar, which is under Tashichholing.”

He also said the gewog also didn’t have any irrigation schemes.

“Pemaling was the least developed gewog in Tashichholing drungkhag at that time.”

He said that today, his gewog has better amenities than other gewogs in Samtse.

“This means I have given my best service to the people.”

Khem Raj attributed transparency and accountability in dedicating his service to the gewog, along with its people, as the primary reason people still chose him to head their gewog over new contestants.

“I always explained and shared plans with the people before starting any development activities.”

He also claimed the other reason why people voted for him this time was because people might have thought that if he were not re-elected, the work he had started would be left unfinished.

“People say it would break the chain of smooth development.”

Samtse has 15 gewogs. The dzongkhag saw 62,154 people vote at the electronic voting machine (EVM) centres. About 17,284 voted through the postal ballot facilitation booth (PBFB), while 5,190 cast their votes with postal ballots (PB), and 4,957 from mobile voting booths (MVB).

More than 2,492 people cast their votes in Pemaling on December 22.