With hundreds of people coming in to vote today and celebrate Dassain tomorrow, Samtse town was busy yesterday.
Taxis, bolero pickups and buses were all packed. Until late in the evening, people hassled to find vehicles. The town’s parking was filled with people from everywhere heading to Dorokha, Tashichholing (Sipsu), Norbugang and many other places.
Many who came from the urban areas drove their cars.
A villager from Buduney village, Sriman Ghalley, 54, said his son was travelling from Thimphu and he walked until Dhamdum as he couldn’t get a vehicle. “All the taxis were packed.”
He said that his son would vote and celebrate Dassain at home. “He had voted from the facilitation booth in Thimphu during the primary election but he would vote from EVM here today.”
Tirthaman Rai, 27, had also come to Samtse town to take his sister home. He also said that his sister would return after voting and celebrating Dassain.
A Samtse town resident said the crowd yesterday was like never before. “It was exciting to see such a huge crowd,” he said.
Samtse election officer, Tshering Phuntsho, said they are expecting more voter turnout today. “We are expecting about 70-75 percent turnout this time.”
He attributed the expected increase to people’s notion of considering general election important.
He explained candidates’ supporters and relatives would come since the general election is about winning a particular constituency.
“Paddy weeding has also completed and villagers are quite free today,” Tshering Phuntsho said.
“Dassain celebration is another factor.”
In the primary election on September 15, Samtse saw a total of 28,568 voters, which is 60.3 percent of the total 47,360 registered voters.
Samtse, meanwhile, had a smooth election process.Tshering Phuntsho said there were no problems.
The people of Samtse will vote from 68 polling stations in the four constituencies. A total of 361 polling officials have been deputed.
Postal ballot counting
Officials of Phuentshogpelri-Samtse constituency opened the postal ballots and accepted all the 332 conventional postal ballots and 1,350 ballots cast at the facilitation booths yesterday.
At Dophuchen-Tading constituency, a total of 399 conventional were accepted out of 401 received. Two ballots were rejected. In regards to the facilitation booth postal ballots, the constituency received 1,778 ballots and all were accepted.
In Tashichhoeling constituency, 413 conventional postal ballots out of 419 received were accepted. The constituency accepted all 1,733 facilitation booth ballots that were received.
Ugyentse-Yoeseltse constituency received 405 conventional postal ballots and rejected just one ballot. The constituency accepted all 1,495 facilitation booth ballots.
Rajesh Rai | Samtse