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LG: After five years without a tshogpa, Chongeykha-Dophulhaka will have two candidates for the post in the upcoming Local Government (LG) elections.

Two class XII graduates, Ram Bahadur Rai and Bishnulal Chhetri, will contest for the tshogpa post on September 27.

Initially, Ram Bahadur Rai wanted to contest for the gup’s seat but changed his mind.

“Gup or tshogpa, the job is very much the same,” Ram Bahadur Rai said, explaining that serving the people is the common factor. “But still, being a tshogpa would mean giving more focus to my own chiwog.”

Ram Bahadur Rai said the tshogpa’s job would let him understand even more,  grassroots issues. Vying for the gup post in the future, he added, would be much easier with experience as a tshogpa.

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Although there was support from the people to contest for the gup post, Ram Bahadur Rai said there were also requests for him to contest for the post of tshogpa. “It was only in the last few days I decided to run for tshogpa,” he said.

Ram Bahadur Rai worked in an industrial establishment in Pasakha before he resigned to return to his village.

Meanwhile, Bishnulal Chhetri shared similar reasons for standing as a tshogpa contender. “Elders in my village asked me to contest for this post,” he said. “We have no tshogpa in our chiwog, which is not right.”

Bishnulal Chhetri has hope for the chiwog and the villages in it. Having resided in his village for a year—he wants to take its issues to the gewog administration and the government.

Until now, Dhan Bahadur Chhetri, 52, has helped Phuentsholing gewog voluntarily in carrying out tshogpa responsibilities.

Chongeykha-Dophulhaka has more than 700 eligible voters as per the draft electoral roll.

However, the current condition of the Dungna gewog connectivity road could dissuade many voters from other places to come to their chiwog to vote. The road is currently severed as a result of several portions being washed away during the recent heavy rains that hit the southern part of the country. Getting across is only possible on foot along a narrow 3km trail wide enough only for one person at a time.

Around 250 voters turned up for the recent chiwog zomdu of Chongeykha-Dophulhaka. Many did not come due to the road conditions. If the road remains closed, Dungna and Metedkha gewogs could also be affected in this way during the election.

Dophuchen-Wangdigatshel chiwog in Phuentsholing gewog has also been without a tshogpa for the past five years.

Here too, a villager had voluntarily taken up the responsibilities of the tshogpa. However, a tshogpa candidate did not emerge this year.

Rajesh Rai | Chongeykha

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