With the common forums completed for both constituencies in Sarpang dzongkhag, candidates of the four political parties in Shompangkha constituency have started their public and door-to-door campaign.

Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party’s (BKP) candidate, Basant Rana, 48, started his door-to-door campaign from Gakidling gewog on August 31.

He was in Chudzom gewog yesterday.

The party worker for the banker from Gakidling gewog, Raju Kafley, said they intend to visit as many houses as possible and convince people.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) candidate, Tek Bahadur Rai, 40, was in Noonpani of Gakiling gewog. The network was poor when Kuensel interviewed him.

He said Bhutanese voters are maturing and that he is sure people are wise. He worked as a project engineer before contesting in the elections. He started his campaign on September 1.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) candidate, Deo Kumar Rimal, 33, from Lhayul village of Chhudzom gewog said he completed public campaigning of two gewogs of September 2.

The computer science graduate, who worked with private information and communications technology companies for more than three years, said he knows the constituency issues since he was born and brought up in the remote village.

He said he knows everyone in the locality.

People’s Democratic Party’s candidate, former information and communications minister, Nandalal Rai, was meeting the public of Sarpang area yesterday.

He said as much as he would love to do a door-to-door campaign, he could only meet in public, as the time is limited. “People might get offended if I miss out during the door-to-door campaign.”

Nandalal Rai, who contested as Druk Phuensum Tshogpa candidate in 2008 and 2013, said besides what is offered through the manifesto, he has his good wishes and goodwill for the people of Sarpang.

He replaced former foreign minister Rinzin Dorji.

In Gelephu, where the candidates returned from Gong after conducting the common forums, candidates said they would start their campaign today.

BKP’s candidate, Harka Bahadur Gurung, returned from Gong on the night of September 2 and he said he would only start his campaign today.

He has a Bachelors of Arts (Hons) and served in various capacities in civil service, including Gelephu drungpa. 

DNT’s candidate, Karma Donnen Wangdi, also returned from Gong on September 2. He will start his campaign today.

He served as the National Council member of the dzongkhag from 2008-2013 and contested as DPT candidate in 2013.

DPT’s candidate, Pema Tashi, 33, said he returned from Gong on September 1.

With a postgraduate diploma in national law and 10 years of service, he said his interest is to serve the people of the constituency well.

From Serzhong chiwog, he said he has many plans to make the constituency a vibrant and an exemplary one.  

PDP’s candidate, Harka Singh Tamang, 58, was returning from Gong yesterday. He reached Surrey base when Kuensel called him yesterday.

The former Zhemgang dzongdag, who also served as the executive secretary for Gelephu thromde, said he met with the people whose houses were located near the walking trail from Gong to Jigmecholing for the last three days.

He replaced former MP Gopal Gurung.

Meanwhile, Sarpang’s election officer, Sonam Wangda, said five common forums were conducted for Shompangkha constituency at the gewog centres from August 27 to 29.

For Gelephu constituency, nine common forums were conducted, including the thromde.

He said that for Jigmecholing gewog, the common forum was conducted in Jigmecholing gewog centre and Gong, which is the farthest area in the dzongkhag.

“Some candidates walked for 14 hours from Jigmecholing and some eight hours from Lhayul,” Sonam Wangda said.

The voter turnout, according to the election officer, was above average. “Considering that most people will be opting for postal ballots and the actual residents in the locality, more than 50 percent of the eligible voters came to attend the meeting.”

Tashi Dema | Sarpang