Chencho Dema| Punakha 

Hundreds of Talog locals packed the Talog gewog centre hall in Punakha yesterday to listen to the pledges of their five National Council candidates.

There were seven aspiring NC candidates, but the gewogs nominated five through the dhamngoi zomdu to run in this election.

The common forum in Punakha started yesterday. Candidates Chencho Wangdi, Dophu Drukpa, Dorji Tenzin, Lhaki Dolma, and Namgay Dorji will attend the last one in Chubu gewog on March 31.

Each of the five candidates was given 15 minutes to introduce themselves before sharing their pledges with the gathering. However, while one candidate was sharing their pledges, the other candidates and their representatives were asked to leave the room.

To the people of Talog, the NC candidates expressed a nearly unanimous commitment to follow the Constitution’s provisions and to carry out His Majesty The King’s noble objectives.

Chencho Wangdi said that serving as a link between the people and the government is the very reason why he is contesting in this election.

He pledged to review 13th Five Year Plan to ensure that Punakha dzongkhag is allocated a fair share of the national resources, provide legislative and policy proposals to ensure long-term survival of the Buddha dharma and cultural heritage. If elected, he said that he would place greater priority on national security and sovereignty.

“I also pledge to review and facilitate the civil service reform and education system transformation,” he said.

Chencho Wangdi, 48, from Sewla village has 21 years of work experience as public servant, and was nominated from Chubu gewog with 423 votes in favour and 41 votes against him.

Dophu Drukpa, 54,  from Menchuna village was nominated from Toebisa gewog with 379 votes while his opponent got 317 votes at the dhamngoi zomdu.

The main purpose of participating in this election, he said, is to maintain contact with the electorate. His pledges include people’s views on Bills in Parliament, keeping constituents informed, promoting market access for farmers, and supporting youth development.

“I will fully support the Royal vision of His Majesty The King to transform Bhutan to become prosperous and progressive,” he said.

Lhaki Dolma, 44-year-old from Bjimithang village, the incumbent NC MP, and the lone female candidate is the NC candidate from Dzomi gewog. She got 321 Yes votes against 42 Nos to secure her nomination.

She said she was a novice candidate in 2018. However, she was given the opportunity to serve in NC, for which she was incredibly grateful to the voters. She urged voters to exercise good judgment, know the candidates, and cast their ballots for the person who will best serve Punakha and the nation.

Upholding the provisions of the Constitution to fulfill the noble visions of His Majesty, strengthening the pride and confidence of being Bhutanese, and supporting progressive laws and policies were her pledges.

Dorji Tenzin, 42, from Gangkha village is contesting from Shenga Bjemi gewog. He secured 281 Yes votes and 64 No votes.

He told the crowd to not listen to anyone and to cast their votes for the correct candidate even if they felt that he was capable.

Dorji Tenzin pledged to initiate or review the laws in accordance with change, development, and economic situation, report plans of five-year plan to central government and parliament by consulting with the local government and people.

“I’ll also focus on information and communication technology development measures and support laws and policies that promote national identities,” he said.

Namgay Dorji, 41, of Yoengu village in Talo gewog beat another aspiring candidate by securing 282 votes. His opponent 42-year-old Tshewang Rinzin from Talo village secured 163 votes. This is his third time participating in the NC election.

Namagy Dorji pledged to prioritise the security and sovereignty of the country in accordance with the Constitution, prioritise policies and development plan and serve as a bridge between the government and the local government, facilitate timely completion of the development activities prioritised in the five-year-plan.

“I’ll work diligently towards fulfilling the vision of GNH and supporting the reforms with utmost dedication,” he said.

Meanwhile, Barp, Goenshari, Guma, Kabisa, Lingmukha, and Toewang Gewogs, and the Khuruthang Throm did not have any aspiring candidates. Around 3000 registered voters turned up for the Dhamngoi Zomdu.