After the weather restricted a flight that was reserved to drop the National Council candidates for a common forum at Lunana in Gasa, election officials facilitated a telephonic common forum for the gewog. 

The common forum was conducted over the telephone using a karaoke microphone with the candidates and voters on April 11 and 12 at Tshojong and Lheedi, Lunana. More than 20 voters attend the telephonic common forum according to officials. 

The forum saw the candidates speak to the voters over a telephone, which was connected to a portable karaoke microphone through bluetooth.

The common forum for Lunana was scheduled on March 31 and April 1. However, due to the weather, the forum was rescheduled to April 10 and 11. The common forum was postponed twice because of adverse weather conditions. 

One of the candidates, Dorji Khandu from Laya, said they made repeated attempts from Gasa and Paro to fly to Lunana for the common forum. “We couldn’t interact face to face with the people but we were given an equal time frame of 15 minutes to speak. The only difference was we could not be there physically but I expressed all I had to say to the people.”

Another candidate, Kinley Dorji from Khamed said the NC election has not much manifesto to be shared. “As we couldn’t fly to Lunana despite repeated attempts, the facilitation was convenient.”

Of the four gewogs in Gasa, Lunana has 499 eligible voters, the second highest after Laya, which has 600 eligible voters. 

Candidate from Khatoed gewog, Dr Phurb Dorji said any activity related to election should be kept at the forefront. “The fine weather earlier coincided with Gasa tshechu but the weather wasn’t favourable in the following weeks.”

He said that the election commission in future should explore means to facilitate teleconferencing by using skype at a place that has good cellular network.  “ECB should also explore means to conduct election activities earlier in places located at higher altitude to receive good voter turnout,” he said.

Election officials said the mobile communication arrangement made for the common forum saw poor voter turnout. Candidates shared that the expense for the common forum in remote place like Lunana needs facilitation from ECB.

The candidates said that the expense for the common forum for Lunana was expensive.  Had they flown to Lunana, they would have paid Nu 57,000 a trip,  the rate that’s charged for the people of Lunana. Gasa has three candidates contesting for the third parliamentary election for national council election this year, the highest to date. The dzongkhag has close to 2,000 eligible voters. 

Nima | Gasa