LG: Defeating her male counterpart by 16 votes during the re-election for the  mangmi post, Panjika Gurung, 36, is the first woman mangmi-elect of Samrang gewog.

Panjika Gurung, who expressed surprise over the result, secured 61 votes through the electronic voting machine (EVM) and six postal ballot votes. She defeated Kinga who secured 48 EVM and three postal ballot votes.

The re-election was scheduled after both candidates secured equal votes on September 27 poll day. Both candidates secured 59 votes each.

A total of 109 voters turned out and of the 10 postal ballots received, one was rejected.

Panjika Gurung who returned to her village to contest for the post said although she managed to secure the post, there are still many who believe a woman cannot shoulder such a responsibility, which is why, apart from working with the gup, her priority is to make people understand that women are equals.

“I am happy they showed me their support especially women but I’ll have to work hard to prove their decision was not wrong,” Panjika Gurung said. “As much as I will have to bear the office work load, I’ll have to equally bear the people’s mentality towards women, which I am confident I can change one day.”

Samrang gewog, which has only 29 households is 22km from Samdrupcholing dungkhag in Samdrupjongkhar.

Meanwhile, securing the highest votes from both the EVM and postal ballots, Tendri Gyeltshen, 34, a former non-formal education instructor is the new mangmi of Khar gewog in Pemagatshel.

A re-election was conducted after the two mangmi candidates secured 460 votes each in the last election.

The consolidation of EVM votes and postal ballot results showed that Tendri Gyeltshen from Shinangri chiwog secured 263 EVM and 147 postal ballot votes.

While his counterpart Dorji Gyeltshen from Khar-Yajur chiwog managed to secure 260 EVM votes and 86 postal ballot votes.

A total of 523 voters turned out to vote. A total of 233 voted by postal ballot, of which 65 were rejected.

Tendri Gyeltshen, who studied until class XII, and who had returned to the village to lead a farmer’s life, said he was happy with the result because voters kept their promise.

“I was encouraged to contest because many elderly people felt I could utilise the knowledge I posses and they showed their support,” he said, adding it was now his time to uphold their trust in him by serving the people together with the gup and working everyday, even during holidays.

The candidates will have 10 working days to submit a petition should there be any dissatisfaction over the re-election results.

Yangchen C Rinzin | Samdrupjongkhar