LG: Her father served as a gup, mangmi and geydrung in the past. Her husband contested in the parliamentary election but lost and now she is contesting for the post of a gup.

Pema Wangmo Tamang, 30, one of the two candidates from Gesarling gewog in Dagana is contesting for the post of gup. Encouraged by members of her family to join politics, Pema is serious about serving the public with utmost dedication as a local leader.

Besides encouragement from her family, the people of her gewog also encouraged her to contest. Voters of Gesarling wanted at least one contender against the former gup Mani Kumar Ghishing who is contesting for the second term. Pema said that when voters themselves pushed her into it she could not say no. “In fact public encouragement boost my confidence,” she said.

Pema Wangmo Tamang joined the education ministry to work as a Non-Formal Instructor for the last 12 years, after completing class X.

In the past one week, Pema went door to door to meet voters. She completed campaigning in two of the five chiwogs.  “I’m making a point to meet every household so that I understand them better,” she said.

The mother of one, added that should she win she will keep up the same pace and pay attention to needs of each household. “More than overall development in the gewog it is about resolving issues of the most needy ones.”

While Pema is busy campaigning in her gewog, her husband is also doing the same. He is contesting for the post of gup from Tsholingkhar gewog in Tsirang.

The second woman gup candidate in Dagana, Pabitra Kumari Singer is up against three male contestants from Khebisa gewog. Pabitra had been considering becoming a woman local leader for a long time but she was waiting to qualify by age to contest. Having turned 26 years this year, she was finally able to  pursue her dream.

The mother of two completed her class X from Dagana High School in 2008 and since then, has been at home raising her two children. She said having completed the biggest responsibility for a woman of raising her children until they are school goers; she is ready to give her best in serving the public.

Pabitra does not see any obstacles towards becoming a gup. In fact one of her main focuses during the campaign will be to make people look at her as an equally competent candidate as the male contestants and not judge her by gender.

“Should I be given a chance I’ll do my best not to disappoint my voters and will live up to their expectations,” she said.

The third woman gup candidate in the dzongkhag is the former Tashiding gup, Namgay Pelden contesting for the second term. She is up against a male candidate, who served as a geydrung (gewog clerk) in the same office for the past five years.

Despite knowing the gewog well for the past few years, Namgay is not leaving any stone unturned to defend her position. Having completed the common forum campaign she will now begin her door-to-door campaign, so that she doesn’t miss anyone in seeking votes. “I’m experienced, I gave my best in the last five years, yet there is so much more I can do should I be elected again,” she said.

Namgay Pelden also drafted and distributed campaign manifestos to voters. It contains details of activities she plans to do in each chiwog should she come to power.

Meanwhile besides politics and local governance, these three women candidates were more encouraged and their moral got an extra boost when Dagana received a woman dzongdag in June.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang