The April 20 National Council (NC) elections in Trashigang saw former Druk Phuensum Tshogpa candidate, Lhatu, return as Trashigang’s councillor.

From Lumang gewog, Lhatu, 51, said the result was as he had expected.

He said he had expected postal ballots to be in his favour. He had 762 ballots more than the candidate who came second.

“Because the majority of postal ballots come from the educated lot and civil servants, I was expecting this,” he said. “They know what kind of person is required at the National Council as their representative.”

But it was not an easy win for Lhatu. In fact, he was three places behind his contenders on the Electronic Voters Machine (EVM) votes.

Besides securing 866 of 1,194 EVM votes from Lumang, Lhatu managed to win 356 of 867 EVM votes from Khaling.

Lhatu said that his experience as an MP and the interactions he had with the public while serving as the director of Mountain Hazelnuts played important role in getting elected.

“The EVM results came as a surprise. I was expecting to lead even on the EVM votes,” he said.

He said that one of the reasons why he did not get more EVM votes was because some people still linked him with a political party. “But the truth is for the last five years I have had no interactions or any link whatsoever with my former party. I am grateful to the people of Trashigang for electing me as their representative.”

NC candidate from Samkhar, Jamyang, who came second (1,589 votes) on the postal ballots count, secured 2,385 votes, the highest on the EVM. Besides Samkhar where he secured 795 of the total 1,035 votes on EVM, Jamyang got 187 votes from Kanglung and 213 from Yangnyer.

“I was expecting that EVM votes would be in my favour since my pledges were all people-centric,” said 31-year-old Jamyang. “I think now our people understand the democratic process and what kind of leader they want to represent them in the Parliament.”

Unlike in the dzongkhag’s past NC elections, where the lone contestant who was also the incumbent won with a landslide margin, the votes this year were divided among the seven candidates.

Save for two candidates who won only in their gewogs, five candidates won at least in two gewogs. Sonam Tobgay R from Radhi was the only one to win in three other gewogs of Merak, Phongmay, and Sakteng.

Candidates said that eight neutral gewogs were the deciding factor.

Sonam Tobgay R, who is from Radhi-Sakteng constituency, won the EVM votes from Merak, Sakteng, Phongmay and from Radhi.

Councillor-elect Lhatu, from Wamrong constituency, won in Khaling and Lumang.

Jamyang from Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong constituency won in Kanglung and Samkhar. He also won in Yangnyer gewog, which is under Bartsham-Shongphu constituency.

Ugyen Dorji from Thrimshing-Kangpara constituency won in both the gewogs. Chheki Wangchuk from Bartsham-Shongphu won in his own gewog of Shongphu and in Bidung. 

Pema Wangda from Udzorong and Ugyen Phuntsho from Bartsham won in their respective gewogs.  

Of the total 11,829 EVM votes, 5,408 were from the neutral gewogs.

There were 46,983 registered voters in the dzongkhag. A total of 20,868 votes, including the postal ballots, were cast during the third National Council elections in Trashigang.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang