Securing 24.41 percent of the total votes cast, Anand Rai of Gakiling gewog is the National Council (NC) elect from Sarpang.

A total of 4,278 votes were cast in favour of Anand Rai of which 3,534 were cast on the electronic voting machines at the 45 polling stations across the dzongkhag. 

Anand Rai said he expected to win as he had learnt about the issues the people of the dzongkhag face and had travelled to all the gewogs before anyone. 

“For the past five years, I have been living in the dzongkhag and now that they have elected me I will work to serve the people,” he said. 

This is the second time he contested the NC elections. 

Of the 29,848 registered voters in the dzongkhag, 17,524 people, including 4,074 postal ballots, cast their votes to elect their NC representative out of the seven candidates. 

 The incumbent NC member, Dhan Bdr Monger, from Dekiling gewog secured 2,455 votes including 641 votes cast through postal ballot. 

Khari Lal Gurung, the candidate from Chuzangang gewog, secured the least vote, of 854 including 177 postal ballots. 

Pema Tashi of Serzhong secured the most votes through postal ballots. 

When the postal ballot results were declared after four days of counting, including three days in opening the envelope A, he had secured 1,240 votes. He secured 2,496 votes on the EVM. 

Tshering Norbu from Gelephu thromde swept the votes from the thromde with 363 of the 552 votes cast in the polling station. He secured 3,590 votes, including 599 postal ballots. 

Tshering Penjor from Jigmecholing gewog secured only 868 votes including 244 postal ballots. 

Ugyen Tshering Dorji of Shompangkha got 1,743 votes, including the 429 postal ballots). 

Meanwhile, the poll day began with an overcast sky keeping the temperature down and creating a pleasant atmosphere for those walking to the polling stations. 

Dewki Maya, 70, from Dekiling gewog was one of the first to vote at the Dekiling lower secondary school polling station. She had started from home at 7am. 

“I’ve never missed voting in the parliamentary elections and I wanted to make sure that I don’t miss this time too,” she said.

Four voters in Gakiling gewog, who had registered for postal ballot facilitation booth, were made to return from the polling station. A student was also returned from the polling station in Gelephu gewog for the same reason. 

There were no major issues reported in the dzongkhag except for the returning officer’s office receiving results after 5pm. 

The reason, according to the election officials was because some presiding officers had only texted the results to the Election Commission of Bhutan headquarters in Thimphu and did not inform the returning officer. The returning officer had to call them individually to obtain or tally the results. 

While the word of Anand Rai’s victory spread in the counting centre, contestants accepted their fate saying that it was the verdict of the people. 

“We have to accept it with humility,” a candidate said. 

Of the 12 gewogs and thromde, Gelephu, Tareythang, Umling, Sengye and Chhudzom gewogs did not nominate candidates for the NC elections. 

Tshering Palden | Gelephu