The small town of Norbugang (Chengmari) was bustling yesterday. As people who had come to vote stood by the road, taxis zoomed in frequently to pick them.

In one of the shops, Bishnu Maya Biswa was making doma. People frequently sat by the two benches outside her shop waiting for cabs.

Bishnu Maya Biswa said the old government had done a commendable job.

“But now other parties have come,” she said, adding whichever party forms the next government, it should know people are expecting a lot more this time.

Sitting on one of the benches outside Bishnu Maya Biswa’s shop, Puran, 25, from Katarey, Norbugang had similar thoughts.

“Our roads have to be pliable everyday,” he said. “Irrigation channel had been provided and we need continuous water supply.”

Norbugang, meanwhile, falls under Phuentshopelri-Samtse constituency. It is the only constituency in Samtse that People’s Democratic Party (PDP) won in the primary round of election on September 15, represented by DN Dhungyel.

PDP secured 2,045 EVM votes and 418 postal ballots in this constituency. However, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) had still topped the race in postal ballot.

Talking about PDP winning in Phuentshopelri-Samtse constituency, despite DNT getting popular, a private employee said that it was a message for the winning two parties.

“PDP won here because people have benefitted a lot,” he said, explaining that the party winning revealed people’s support if a candidate had delivered.

“It is an indication people would vote if they benefit.”

Although Samtse was considered a PDP stronghold, DNT won in two constituencies, while Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) won one.

In terms of overall vote counts, DNT secured 10,050 votes from all the demkhongs, while PDP stood second with 8,929 votes. There was not much difference in the EVM counts, but DNT won over PDP in the ballots by more than 1,000 votes.

During the campaign period, DPT president visited just one constituency, Dophuchen-Tading, and that is where the party won. In total, the party got 5,693 votes from Samtse.

From the four constituencies in Samtse, Dophuchen-Tading saw the lowest turnout as 7,738 voters cast their votes through EVMs and postal ballots that makes up to 58.5 percent turnout. This constituency has the highest number of voters in Samtse with 13,231 registered voters.

In Phuentshopelri-Samtse, 6,525 people voted in the primary round election, which makes about 60.4 percent turnout. Ugyentse-Yoeseltse constituency has 10,357 registered voters but 6,218 people cast their votes, which is 60 percent voters’ turnout.

Tashichhoelig constituency saw 8,087 people vote, which is about 62.4 percent turnout, the highest among the four constituencies.

It is also the only constituency in which Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party had stood at the third position with 1,054 votes, just above DPT’s 963 votes.

Samtse has 47,360 registered voters. However, 28,568 people voted, which is about 60.3 percent turnout. Of the total, 7,258 were postal ballots.

More than 350 officials were fielded in 68 polling stations across Samtse.

A total of 70 postal ballots were rejected on September 14 during the opening of envelope A. During the counting of the ballots, 58 were rejected as “invalid.”

Meanwhile, many people came from far-flung areas. Dal Bahadur Gurung, 60, who works in Damchen Furniture in Khuruthang, Punakha, had cast his vote in Norgaygang (Bara).

“It is important to vote,” he said. “I vote to see changes in my community.”

Dal Bahadur Gurung said roads had to be maintained in Norgaygang and school upgraded. He would come again in the general round, he said, as he returned to Punkaha with his family yesterday.

In Samtse, some are jubilant, while some are quiet. The town is back from election hangover.

Rajesh Rai | Samtse