Chencho Dema

Punakha – Political analysts say that Kabji-Talo stands as one of the constituencies adorned with heavyweight contenders, creating an air of suspense as the public grapples with predicting the frontrunners for the upcoming general round on November 30.

Punakha voters, asserting the strength and capability of each of the five candidates, find themselves in a conundrum, tight-lipped about their voting preferences. The electorate appears divided, with some having made their decisions in advance while others remain guarded about their choices.

The primary contenders for Kabji-Talo include Tshering Dorji (BTP), Namgyal Dorji (PDP), Tshencho Wangdi (DNT), Sangay Phurba (DPT), and Kinzang Thinley (DTT).

Analysis of contenders and their challenges

Given that Tshering Dorji and Namgyal Dorji hail from the same gewog, concerns arise about potential vote splitting.

Tshering Dorji acknowledges the disadvantage of multiple candidates from a gewog, emphasising that a unified candidate would secure majority support. Nevertheless, he expresses confidence in the qualifications and capabilities of all candidates.

Namgyal Dorji sees having two candidates from the same gewog as offering more choices to voters. He remains optimistic about substantial support, particularly from larger gewogs that have historically favored PDP.

Tshencho Wangdi, the sole candidate from Talo, highlights the experience of all candidates, cautioning against equating vote quantity with candidate quality. He identifies PDP, with its historical stronghold, as his major rival.

Sangay Phurba, the only candidate from Kabisa, views Tshering Dorji as his primary competitor due to the latter’s experience, seniority, and portfolio in politics.

Kinzang Thinley, the lone candidate from his gewog, dismisses the notion that a single candidate would sweep all votes, citing voters’ tendency to change their minds. He asserts that every contender is formidable.

Background of the candidates

Tshering Dorji (BTP): Sixty-one-year-old with over 32 years of service in various sectors, including civil service, business, municipal government, and diplomacy, former foreign secretary and PDP candidate.

Namgyal Dorji (PDP): Thirty-seven-year-old with a Master’s Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy. Twelve years of experience with the Foreign Ministry and service at the Permanent Mission of Bhutan to the United Nations.

Tshencho Wangdi (DNT): Thirty-eight-year-old former Deputy Speaker for the NA with a background in international relations. The only candidate from Talo.

Sangay Phurba (DPT): Fifty-five-year-old with a Bachelor of Commerce degree. Former Secretary General of DPT and Board Director of Institute for Management Studies Ltd. (IMSL).

Kinzang Thinley (DTT): Forty-three-year-old with experience as a cinematographer and a Masters in film and television production. He holds a degree in mass communication and journalism.

Electoral dynamics

The Kabji-Talo constituency encompasses six gewogs, with Toedpisa having the most polling stations (four). Guma gewog records the highest number of registered voters (2,475), while Goenshari has the lowest (584).

As the election day approaches on November 30, the political landscape in Kabji-Talo remains intricate, with voters weighing their choices amidst the diversity of candidates and the nuances of the electoral process.