Lhakpa Quendren | Gelephu

The voters of Tsirang will have to choose their National Council (NC) representative from the seven candidates contesting the NC election on April 20. 

Of nine aspiring candidates, who participated in the dhamngoi zomdu which ended on March 9, seven aspirants have been nominated by the gewogs.

Tsirang has 12 gewogs and one throm but Barshong, Kilkhorthang, Tsirang Toed, Rangthangling, Doonglagang, and Phuntenchhu gewogs did not nominate any candidate. 

Except for Tsholingkhar and Patshaling gewogs which saw two candidates each compete in the nomination meetings, it was a Yes-No voting for the lone candidates in five gewogs.

Since the incumbent Tsirang NC member is not seeking re-election, the candidates are new faces mixed with former politicians and candidates. 

Records with the dzongkhag election office show low voter turnout in the zomdu with only 3,261 voters taking part of the 26,083 eligible voters registered in Tsirang.  

Who are the candidates? 

Securing 241 Yes votes and 25 No votes, Ragu Nath Nepal, 39, from Mendrelgang village is the NC candidate from Mendrelgang gewog.

He has a Bachelor of Commerce from North Bengal University in 2006 and worked for over 10 years in the private sector and has been engaged in agriculture farming in the village.

He also contested for the post of gup in the last local government elections.

“I expected to be nominated at zomdu because I have been staying in my village for the past 11 years. The voters should elect the most capable candidate to serve our country with utmost humility,” he said. 

Gopal Thapa, 56, from Dzomlingthang village got 247 Yes votes out of the 304 votes cast at the dhamngoi zomdu to be the nominee from Gosarling gewog.

He holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instructions from Rangsit University in Thailand, and a Bachelor of Education in Mathematics from the Samtse College of Education.  

The former teacher worked for 32 years in different schools before he resigned in 2022 to take part in the elections.

“Being a senior and in touch with ground workers, I was pretty confident about the gewog dhamngoi zomdu and it happened so,” he said.

Tsholingkhar gewog’s candidate for the NC election is Sangay Tamang, 40, from Tsholingkhar-Toed village who secured 315 votes against his opponent Samten Zangmo who got 260 votes. 

Ha has a Bachelor in Business Administration from North Bengal University, India. He worked for about 15 years in the private sector including agriculture farming and running his business.

Sangay Tamang contested twice in the local government elections and the National Council elections in 2018.

“Everyone comes forward to contest to win. I was confident that I was going to make it but deep down I was a bit tense with the day’s performance,” he said.

Yangkhu Tshering Sherpa, 53, from Patshaling-Toed village is the Patshaling gewog’s candidate after winning the nomination with 310 votes against Bhim Bahadur Tamang who secured 245 votes.

He holds a Master of Arts in Dzongkha and Chokyed from the Taktse College of Language and Culture studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Dzongkha (Honours) from Sherubte College.

He also served as a deputy speaker during the first elected government and worked for 16 years as a teacher before joining politics. He has been working as an organic farmer since 2014 and re-contested in the 2018 elections.

“It was quite competitive so did not expect much from the gewog,” Yangkhu Tshering Sherpa said.

People of Sergithang gewog nominated Saruajit Rai, 43, from Semdenjong village as their NC candidate with 302 Yes and 21 No votes. 

He holds a Master of Business Administration from Kaplan Business School, Sydney, Australia, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering from Anna University in India.    

For 23 years, he worked as an engineer and planner with the Bhutan Power Corporation and thromdes, a lecturer with Jigme Namgyel Engineering College, and a freelance engineering consultant.

“I would like to request all the people to come out of their homes and cast their votes,” he said.

With 295 Yes and 43 No votes, 55-year-old Narapati Nepal from Tashiling-Maed village has been nominated as the NC candidate from Semjong gewog.

He has a Master’s in Accounting and Control from The Hague University, The Netherlands, and has over 25 years of work experience with the Royal Audit Authority.

“I won the gewog dhamngoi zomdu. Be more thoughtful in exercising the franchise, recognise the ability, and make an informed choice,” he said.

Damphu town nominated Nima Wangdi, 42, after he got 56 Yes votes against two No votes. 

He has a Bachelor of Education in Mathematics from the Paro College of Education and worked for 15 years as a teacher in different schools.

“I was 100 percent confident to win from the dhamngoi zomdu. I urge the people of Tsirang to exercise your franchise in support of the legitimate and most deserving candidate,” he said.