When Samdrupjongkhar reelected Jigme Wangchuk, the incumbent council member on April 20, he became the lone candidate to serve in the house of review for three consecutive terms.

Jigme Wangchuk from Lauri gewog secured the highest number of both postal ballots and EVM votes over five contestants.

He lost in Phuntshothang and Langchenphu gewogs, which do not have candidates by a slight margin to Ugyen Dorji and Tshewang Tenzin. But he won in five gewogs including Martshala where Ugyen Dorji is from. Ugyen Dorji won in Phuntshothang by 62 votes against Jigme Wangchuk’s 402.

However, Jigme Wangchuk won from Ugyen Dorji’s gewog Martshala by a large margin. He secured 464 votes against Ugyen Dorji’s 272 votes.

The rest of the four gewogs voted for their own candidate. Orong gewog, that has the highest registered voters chose their lone female candidate, Tshelthrim Dukar with 852 votes while Jigme Wangchuk managed only 35.

Wangphu gewog also voted for their own candidate Kelzang Phuntsho with 613 votes against Jigme Wangchuk’s 249 votes. 

Dewathang voted for its candidate Sangay Tenzin with 301 votes. Here, Jigme Wangchuk got the third lowest votes, 103. In Serthi gewog, Jigme Wangchuk got 156 while the gewog’s candidate Tshewang Tenzin won 302 votes.

Jigme Wangchuk however won enough votes to land a seat in the council.  According to voters, his humility, approachable personality and the help he rendered to the people earned him the votes.

“I voted for the old candidate because he looks after our welfare,” said Muku, 60, of Khateythang village in Pemathang gewog. “Unlike others, he’s reachable anytime and we need somebody like him,” another voter from Lauri said.

Tshering, a voter from Phuntshothang said his family and neighbours voted for Jigme Wangchuk because of their personal relations.

“He is a good person. We know him since he was a teacher in Phuntshothang and he is concerned about us,” Tshering said.

Meanwhile, some voters were hopeful for a woman representative.  “We often experience women related issues and we need a women representative to raise our voice,” Padam Lal, 67, from Phuntshothang gewog said.

Jigme Wangchuk said the people are matured enough to decide who’s best for them.

“I had a good ground after serving this institution for this long and of knowing the people,” he said. “I was quite confident.”

Tshering Namgyal | Samdrupjongkhar