LG: Local government elections in Mongar is churning up all sorts of aspiring contestants: businessmen, farmers, and even graduates.

Of the dzongkhag’s 17 gewogs, Drametse, Narang and Tsamang gewogs have three university graduates aspiring to contest for the post of gup.

A 2010 Computer Applications graudate from Sikkim Manipal University, Tshering Sithup, aspires to bid for the post from Tsamang gewog.

The other two: Dechen Zangmo, 27 from Narang gewog and Tenzin Jamtsho from Drametse are graduates of Sherubtse College.

They sat the Functional Literacy Test for the local government (LG) elections recently.

Twenty-six-year old Tenzin Jamtsho, a farmer at present, is learning how rural people earn their bread and identify their development needs.

“I would opt for quality rather than quantity of  infrastructure that the gewog would build” the physical science graduate,Tenzin Jamtsho said.

He said people should be educated on laws so that they will not come in conflict with laws.

Dechen Zangmo is a 2013 graduate in economics and geography and now a businesswoman.

She decided to contest for the post after encouragement and support from the villagers, friends and the Bhutan Networkfor Empowering Women.

“I’ve taken leadership roles in schools and college, and I’m confident to shoulder this one too,” she said.

After graduation Tshering Sithup didn’t sit the Royal Civil Service Commision Examination to join the civil service.  He stayed home helping parents run business at Gyelpoizhing in Mongar.

“If I remain doing the same business, the knowledge I gained and the expenditure spent for  education will be in vain,” he said. “Leading the community is what I could do to serve the country,” the 33-year-old said.

Villagers said it was time graduates took up such posts in the local government.

Sonam Dolma from Banjar, Tsamang, said graduates and retired civil servants are needed  to bring better changes and good decision making for policies.

A Narang villager, Kelzang Choden, said until now young graduates from the village never came back to serve the local community, and remained in urban areas and sought employment there.

Yeshila from Drametse said the local communities need graduates and retired civil servant to serve them but not many take the risk.  “This year, we’d have a graduate from Sherubtse college,” he said.

All the contestants have to be nominated from their chiwogs to compete for the post of gup.

A total of 391 sat the FLT according to the Mongar election office. Of that, 248 were male and 143 were female.

Tashi Phuntsho | Narang