Chencho Dema | Punakha

Punakha’s National Council MP-elect, Namgay Dorji pleaded with the voters to let him serve them at least once. And he made it on the third attempt.

He first contested in 2008 and also in the 2013 NC election. He still persevered and contested for the third time this year.

Talo gewog nominated him with 282 votes in his favour against Tshewang Rinzin from Talo village who secured 163 votes. Taking a cue from the victory at the Dhangmoi Zomdu in his gewog, the 41-year-old from Yoengu village in Talo Gewog, worked harder this time.

During the first common forum in Talog, he told the gathering that he was re-contesting for the third time because he wanted to sincerely serve the people. He implored to give him one chance for having contested repeatedly.

Most people Kuensel spoke to expressed their sympathy for Namgay Dorji, and felt that he should be given the opportunity this time. They wanted him to demonstrate his capabilities as a representative.

Although he had the choice of going abroad like any other Bhutanese, he chose to remain and contest the election. That too even after losing two previous elections. This, people said was what acted to his advantage.

“He sets an example for the Bhutanese that Bhutan also has an opportunity and this could be one reason why he was voted,” said a 46-year-old voter from Toep Gewog.

Another voter from Toep said, “Because Namgay has run for office several times, many voters felt bad for him and decided to give him a chance. However, this does not imply that he is incompetent.”

While one of the voters requesting anonymity said he heard from people in his village that they were touched by his honesty and voted accordingly.

A keen political observer said, since NC doesn’t have much bearing on the developmental activities in the villages, people usually go for giving a fair chance to each candidate.

“For instance, they think the incumbent candidate has already enjoyed all perks and privileges for one term, and hence must be given to the new one,” he said.

Punakha-based businessman Sangay Khandu said that after the election, people who frequent his eateries talked about how they supported Namgay Dorji not only out of sympathy but also because of the way he spoke during the public debate.

Those who know him said that he was a different person this election. “He had some problems with alcohol in the past. He went to rehabilitation and came out of the habit. So he has shown us that he means business this time,” a resident of Punakha said. “I think many saw this side of him more and were convinced.”

Namgay Dorji has a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and a Master’s in Mass Communication and Media Management.