LG: The former gup of Gosaling gewog, Tsirang KB Tamang was eliminated from the ongoing local government elections, after he was defeated by a former private employee in the zomdu held in Pemathang chiwog, on August 18.

Known for his simplicity, KB Tamang served as a gup for the last three consecutive terms, and was one of the longest serving gups in Tsirang. Before that, he had served as a geydrung for about a decade.

His rival, Ram Bahadur Karki, a former private employee, emerged victorious by securing 96 votes out of the 162 cast in the zomdu.

The veteran gup secured 66, which was slightly over 40 percent of the total ballots.

Keeping a low profile, Ram Bahadur Karki, capitalised on the anti-incumbency factor to his advantage. There were only two gup candidates in the chiwog.

It was said that while most voters who came from outside the dzongkhag were in favour of the former gup, Ram Bahadur Karki enjoyed a stronger support base in the chiwog. The selected candidate is said to have made his intention to contest in the local government (LG) elections to the public some 18 months back.

Voters who voted for the selected gup candidate said they wanted to give a chance for a new candidate.

“The old gup was a good person who never acted against any individual in the gewog. But he has served long enough that we have to give a chance to some other people,” said a voter.

The selected candidate will have to contest against two other candidates, one of who is a Gaedu College graduate, from Phuensumgang chiwog. Hom Nath Thapa was the lone candidate who was selected on a Yes or No basis. He is also a former private employee.

Another candidate will be from Dzamlingzor chiwog, where a zomdu to sellect their candidate will be held on August 22, according to the zomdu schedule. The gewog is expected to have three gup candidates for the polls to be held on September 27.

The chiwog saw one of the highest turn outs for the zomdu, according to the officials on election duty. The high turn out was attributed to greater public awareness in the chiwog.

Each of the candidates, for both gup and mangmi, had invited most of their relatives and friends residing outside the dzongkhag. “If there was only one candidate each for the posts the turn up would have been low,” said another voter.

Three candidates were on ballot for the post of mangmi in the chiwog. A fresh graduate from India, Damber Singh Subba, secured 71 votes, which is 43 percent of the total ballots cast in the zomdu.

The two other mangmi candidates: Dil Kumar Pradhan and Bhim Bahadur Tamang, secured 44 and 47 votes respectively.

Before the votes were cast, officials explained the election rules and the importance of people’s participation in a local government election. Officials said that democracy works only if people participate in periodic elections.

Women were also encouraged to participate as candidates. There is nothing that a woman cannot do, officials told the voters at the zomdu.

However, no women came forward to contest for the post of gup and mangmi.

Voters said a strong leadership at the local level was necessary for efficient execution and acceleration of developmental activities.

A zomdu for the purpose of selecting a candidate to contest various LG elections is called by the concerned dzongkhag election authority. The authority shall be responsible for ensuring that the zomdus are held in the dzongkhag as per the work plan and within the time period given in the election schedule.

The venue for a zomdu is centrally located for the convenience to allow for maximum number of voters.

The venue and details must be made widely known within the concerned demkhongs. Participation shall be open to all registered voters of the concerned demkhongs.

During the zomdu, a candidate shall be categorically asked on the status of every criteria required of a candidate by the election authority so that the electorate is fully informed on the eligibility of the person aspiring to be nominated as a candidate.

MB Subba