Much before the primary round, talks were rife that Tsirang was a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stronghold and people would continue to support the party.

The assumption was that having won both the constituencies in 2013, PDP that was represented by Novin Darlami from Sergithang-Tsirangtoed and Yogesh Tamang from Kilkhorthang-Mendrelgang constituency PDP stood a good chance this time as well.

However, as poll day approached, it was Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) that people talked more about. DNT president’ visit and his campaign in Lhotshamkha here got the attention from the people.

Although PDP president also visited both the constituencies, it could not keep people’s support intact. In the primary round on September 15, DNT secured more votes in both the constituencies of Kilkhorthang-Mendrelgang and Sergithang-Tsirangtoed. While DNT secured 5,779 total votes, PDP managed 4,844.

Had it not been the postal votes, PDP could have won Sergithang-Tsirangtoed constituency. The party had secured 134 more EVM votes than DNT’s 1,634. But PDP managed only 641 postal votes, 431 less than what DNT secured.

In the other constituency, Kilkhorthang-Mendrelgang, although the EVM vote margin between the two parties is less, postal ballot votes again made the difference. PDP secured 95 less EVM votes than DNT but it secured 543 less postal votes.

PDP’s Sergithang-Tsirangtoed candidate Novin Darlami said the party did well in reaching out to the rural voters, which is evident from the EVM votes. But it could not manage to reach the urban voters (postal). At least 60 percent of the constituents live outside the dzongkhag, he added. “I think that is what we missed out and could not make it,” he said.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) however performed poorly in both the constituencies. It has a huge vote difference with the party that stood second in Tsirang. In total, DPT secured 2009 votes less than PDP.

Major vote difference was seen in Kilkhorthang-Mendrelgang constituency with 1,016 votes less than PDP’s 2,435. DPT also secured 993 votes less than PDP’s 2409 in Sergithang-Tsirangtoed constituency.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang