A close call for Uttar Rai in P/ling

Candidates assures he will nozt differentiate “Yes” and “No” voters

URPhuentsholing: It is 7:30pm. There are no celebrations at Neydra village in Phuentsholing even after their village boy Uttar Kumar Rai was elected as the second thrompon of Phuentsholing thromde.

Uttar Kumar Rai had won, but by a close margin- by only nine more “Yes” votes. He became the lone candidate two days before the poll day when his contestant, the former thrompon was disqualified for holding a business licence.

Phuentsholing saw 487 of the 776 eligible voters turn up yesterday. 248 voted “Yes” and 239 voted “No”. Had it not been for the 11 members of Uttar Kumar Rai’s family, Phuentsholing could have gone for a bye-election.

About 49 percent of the total voters that turned up had come to vote against him.

Even from his constituency, 13 people from the 48 eligible voters that turned up voted “No”.

The thrompon elect, however, is not affected. “The first thing I need to do is go around and thank the people,” Uttar Kumar Rai said. “I want to make them feel that nobody will be left out whether they voted for or against me.”


Voters wait for their turn at the Neydra constituency in Phuentsholing

The 38-year-old former businessman’s phone is busy with congratulatory calls. Amid thanking the callers, the father of one said he is confident those that voted against him would eventually start to understand and like him.

“The votes do not count,” Uttar Kumar Rai said. “I will serve equally.”

As expected by residents who had been following the election development in the Phuentsholing thromde,  more people voted against Uttar Kumar Rai in Pasakha and Phuentsholing Maed. Pasakha is the former thrompon’s stronghold while Phuentsholing Maed was his constituency.

Uttar Kumar Rai got only 22 “Yes” from the total 97 votes at Pasakha. He also lost receiving only 28 “Yes” votes from Maed constituency.

Votes from Phuentsholing Toed, Pekharzhing, and Rinchending, on the other hand, played pivotal roles in his win. Uttar Kumar Rai, who lost by 79 votes to Tsheten Dorji in 2011 thromde elections, received more votes from these constituencies.

In the Pekharzhing constituency, 69 out 126 voted for Uttar Kumar Rai. He won 55 of the 91 votes from Phuentsholing Toed and 39 people voted for the new thrompon out of 55 in Rinchending,.

Meanwhile, from the three-thromde elections, Phuentsholing saw the highest participation among the voters. About 62 percent of the total 776 eligible voters came to vote at their polling stations.

For the thromde thuemi post, Bimal Kumar Ghalley, 30, of Pekharzhing demkhong won a staggering 287 votes beating Renuka Rai and Karma Chen. The new thromde thuemi of Phuentsholing has served as an NFE dzongkha teacher for five years in Darla.

The other two contestants Renuka Rai of Pasakha and Karma Chen of Phuentsholing Maed won 101 and 99 votes respectively. Sharmila Limbu beat Mani Kumar Rai to become the tshogpa. Sharmila Limbu won 58 votes to Mani Kumar Rai’s  33.

In the tshogpa election, the former Rinchending tshogpa Tshering Wangdi was voted out by 36 more “No” votes. A total of 65 people came to vote.

All the other tshogpa candidates in five demkhongs were voted  by “Yes” and “No” votes. Prabhat Rai of Pasakha won the tshogpa post with 78 “yes” votes from 97. Nar Bahadur Rai received 39 “Yes” votes of the total 48 votes in the Nyedra constituency.

“I will honour voters’ trust”

Tika Ram won by a huge majority in Gelephu

tikaGelephu: By late yesterday evening Tika Ram Kafley was exhausted. So was the battery of his Samsung mobile phone. He literally dashed home, about five minutes drive from the returning officer’s office, soon after hearing the preliminary results of the election.

Tika Ram has won and won emphatically. He secured almost half the number of votes cast for the three candidates. With 317 votes including the only valid postal ballot of the 677 votes, Tika Ram will be Gelephu’s second elected thrompon.

Like a seasoned politician, the thrompon elect attributed the victory to the people. “It’s the voters of Gelephu that have won,” he said.

“By electing me as their representative voters have laid their trust on me,” he said. “I’ll honour the trust.”

Tika ram had been preparing for the last two years for the election. He has already charted out his priorities. Rendering better welfare, better comfort and convenience of voters will be Tika Ram’s mandate.

Tika Ram’s immediate task would be adding a pre-primary classroom to the Gelephu Lower Secondary School. He said there are about 20 children who did not get admission for the 2016 academic year.


Two voters of Rabdeyling demkhong return to their polling station after they mistakenly came to the Trashiling polling station

The other contestant that many thought would win got the least votes.  Harka Bdr Gurung secured only 155 votes. The third contestant, Tshering Norbu, secured 206 votes.

Harka Bdr Gurung and Tshering Norbu or their representatives were not around the ROs office when the preliminary results were announced.

Meanwhile, the lone thromde thuemi candidate Sithar Dorjee, 48, was elected with 530 “Yes” votes, including one postal vote. 148 voters voted “No”.   The thuemi  was not excited. He said he had been serving as the thuemi for last eight years. “I was not confident but I’m happy that I’m elected,” he said. “I owe voters and I look forward to fulfilling promises made to them.”

He said although there are no written terms of reference for thromde thuemi, he will work hard for the welfare of his voters.

The lone thromde tshogpa candidate of Trashiling demkhong, Chencho Gyeltsen won by securing 35 “Yes” votes and 25 “No” votes. In Jampeling demkhong, Lok Bdr Chhetri was elected as the tshogpa with 97 “Yes”  and 32 “No”  votes.  Karchung secured 80 votes and won against his opponent from Samdrupling constituency.

The only female tshogpa candidate, Tika Maya Karki, was elected from Sonam Gatshel demkhong securing 48 votes, four votes more than the other contestant. Chimi is the tshogpa elect from Rabdeyling after securing 50 votes one of which was a postal vote.

The tshogpa’s post for Namkhaling demkhong is still vacant with no candidates contesting.

Gelephu saw a good voters turnout yesterday at 677 (61 percent), of which 336 were female.  Gelephu thromde has 1,121 registered voters. Besides few voters visiting wrong polling stations, the election completed smoothly in the thromde.  More than 90 percent of the voters turned up before lunch.

There were five registered postal voters. Four reached the thromde and three were rejected.

Smooth sailing for former thrompon

Kinlay Dorjee won 93% of the votes 

IMG_9959Thimphu: The mood said it all at the Babesa polling station. By 10 am, the queue became long. Those lined up were ushering elderly and voters with children to cast their ballot first. They knew the former thrompon would be re-elected.

There was no upset. The lone thrompon candidate Kinlay Dorjee, easily won a second term as the thrompon of Thimphu thromde. He received 93 percent of the 2,557 ballots cast in seven constituencies across Thimphu thromde.

Kinlay Dorjee won 2,107 “Yes” votes. At least 150, including 21 in his home constituency voted “No”. Election officials received three postal ballots, all of which were in the former thrompon’s favour.


A voter seeks help from a police personnel at Chubachu polling station

The thrompon-elect said he was overwhelmed by the people’s trust and responsibility bestowed on him. “Though the voter turnout was not good, I’m happy that a huge percentage of people who showed up at the polls voted for me,” he said.

The former thrompon expressed hopes that he would be able to live up to the people’s expectations. “People’s support is huge, but I’m equally burdened by the responsibilities,” he said.

In his home constituency, Kinlay Dorjee received 350 “Yes” votes and 21 voted “No”.


Female voters outnumber male at Zilukha, Thimphu

The highest number of votes came from Changbangdu-Olakha constituency, which is also the biggest constituency by voter population with 1,869 eligible voters. Kinlay Dorjee received 557 “Yes” and 47 “No” votes in the constituency.

Overall, only 31 percent of the eligible voters cast their ballots yesterday. Out of the total of 7,278 registered voters, 2,257 voted in yesterday’s election.

This means that the voter turnout decreased by 19.75 percent from the first thromde election in 2011. In the first thromde election, 50.75 percent of eligible voters turned up to vote for thrompons.


Thromde Thuemi

Kinley from Dechencholing-Taba constituency was elected as the first thuemi of Thimphu thromde. He secured 1,920 Yes votes, while 337 voted against his candidature.

He was also the lone candidate for the post of thromde thuemi. He said  some voters did not know the roles and responsibilities of a thromde thuemi and were reluctant to vote for him.

Almost 15 percent of the voters voted “No” for the candidate.

Meanwhile, all the seven thromde tshogpas were elected in yesterday’s election. Among the tshogpa-elects, five are male and two are female. All the tshogpa-elects were lone candidates.

The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) will formally declare the results today.


Dechecholing-Taba:  Ugyen

Changgangkha:   Rinzin Dorji

Jungshina-kawajangsa: Ugyen Penjor

Motithang: Dorji Dema

Norzin:  Kuenga Yonten

Changbangdu-Olakha: Phub Dema

Babesa:  Namgay Tshering

Rajesh Rai in Phuentsholing, Nirmala Pokhrel in Gelephu and MB Subba


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