LG: A gup candidate in Metedkha gewog in Chukha, and a mangmi and a tshogpa candidate in the two chiwogs of Phuentsholing gewog are likely to be disqualified for their affiliation with a political party.

In Metedkha, Gumina-Tenchokha chiwog gup candidate, Passang, 42, is registered and affiliated with the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT).

From Phuentsholing gewog, Lingden chiwog’s mangmi contestant, Santa Bir Rai and Pachhu chiwog’s tshogpa candidate, Pem Tshering Lepcha, who were nominated during the recent chiwog zomdus are likely to also be disqualified because of their affiliation with DNT.

Santa Bir Rai and Pem Tshering Lepcha said they were taken by surprise. Santa Bir Rai, a class VIII graduate, said he was disheartened with the development. “I had come to submit my documents,” the 38-year-old from Serina village of Lingden chiwog said, adding that it was then that officials informed him about the affiliation.

Officials said nothing during the chiwog zomdu, he added.

Passang could not be contacted.

Meanwhile, election officials in Thimphu have been involved to look into the case.

Santa Bir Rai said he has been asked to wait.

Pem Tshering Lepcha said he hasn’t been disqualified yet but election officials informed him about the political party affiliation.

He said he had informed party officials in Thimphu about eight months ago that he wanted to deregister. However, it was not done, he said. He added that he had called party officials after being informed of his party affiliation. According to Pem Tshering Lepcha, the party is having a meeting on the issue.

The candidates have only been informed of their political affiliation verbally and not in writing as of yesterday evening.

Scrutinisation of documents submitted and nominees will start from tomorrow.

However, even if the three nominees get de-registration letters from DNT, the requirement of a one-year cooling period will not allow them to contest in the elections.

Meanwhile, Chukha will have 35 aspirants for the gup post in the upcoming local government election, and 30 for the mangmi post.

They were voted and nominated during the recent chiwog zomdus. There are more women contesting for the post of mangmi. There are six women contesting for the post from different chiwogs.

There is only one woman from Sampheling gewog, who will contest for the gup post. Tshering Choden, 33, of Chasilhakha, Bongo gewog contested for the gup seat in the zomdu. However, she did not make it against the former gup Tashi Dorji.

There are six university graduates, including Dzongkha graduates,  contesting for the gup post. Six of the seven former gups whom contested during the chiwog zomdus got another shot for the post this time.

The public decided to vote for their former gups in Dungna, Lokchina, Darla, Geling, Bongo, and Sampheling. The only gup that did not make it through the zomdu is Chapcha gup Dawa Penjore. He lost to a newcomer.

The former gups of Bjachho, Metedkha, Phuentsholing, and Getena did not contest during the chiwog zomdus to make way for the younger generation.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing