Nima | Gelephu

After contesting in elections for the third time, Tshering Norbu, 38, won by a landslide in the Gelephu thrompon election yesterday.

He had contested in the 2016 thrompon election and 2018 National Council election.

The thrompon-elect managed to sweep all the six demkhongs in the thromde and postal ballots.

He secured 471 votes in the electronic voting machine (EVM) and 242 postal ballots. The former thrompon, Tikaram Kafley, secured only 209 EVM votes and 166 ballots.

The former thrompon lost in his own demkhong, Jampeling, by a single vote to Tshering Norbu.

Gelephu residents said Tshering Norbu’s persistence to contest in the election and his pledges to provide better services made them vote for him.

Before the election yesterday, some residents said thrompon-elect’s brothers doing contract work and businesses in Gelephu might backfire him, as they fear he would favor them while awarding thromde works. Other residents, however, said the former thrompon not living up to his pledges might have favored Tshering Norbu, as people wanted change.

Tshering Norbu said he would not let the voters down.

The thrompon-elect thanked voters for the support. “I am excited about the responsibility bestowed on me to serve Gelephu thromde.”

He said he would always consult people while planning any development activities.

Tshering Norbu said he never lost hope when he did not win the past elections. “It only made me more committed.”

Many voters expect the thrompon-elect to work to provide a reliable drinking water supply and improve the drainage system to reduce floods problems in summer.

A voter from Namkhaling, Surja Maya Pradhan, said floodwater filled her doorsteps during the monsoon.

“Drainage is a big problem here. There are also no proper streetlights in Namkhaling and a proper facility for persons with disabilities and the elderly to go for a walk. We hope the new thrompon would address the issue.”

She said that the thrompon candidates if elected should fulfil their pledges to win the public trust. “They might win after five years also if they fulfil their pledge.”

A voter from Jampeling, Kinzang Choden, said water is a necessity in a hot place like Gelephu. “But water is a big problem here.”

She said they also need a proper meeting hall.

The voters are also looking forward to the ideas of urban agriculture that were discussed by both the candidates throughout the campaign.

Deepak Tamang from Namkhaling said urban agriculture, reliable water supply, and tourism activities would help improve people’s livelihood. “It’s important to fulfil the pledges,” he said.

Voters said that the head of a family, mostly a man, decided who the family members should vote in the election.

“There are problems women face but it’s not discussed for this time,” said Surja Maya Pradhan.

Tshewang Nidup, 20, said that he was not aware of the pledges of both candidates. “We discuss in the family and then vote.”

Meanwhile, of the six demkhongs, five voted for tshogpa, as the lone tshogpa candidate from Trashiling demkhong was disqualified during nomination scrutiny.

Lok Bahadur Chhetri is the tshogpa-elect of Jampelling, Bal Bir Rai is the tshogpa-elect of Samdrupling, Tika Maya Karki is the tshogpa-elect of Sonam Gatshel, Sanjog Pradhan is the tshogpa-elect of Namkhaling, and Chimi is the tshogpa-elect of Rabdeyling.

The Thrompon election was conducted with a strict safety measures monitored by polling officials and security personnel making people wash hands and maintain gap before entering the voting booth.