Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Samdrupjongkhar has three university graduates contesting for the tshogpa post in the upcoming local government (LG) elections.

The candidates are Pratab Singh Darje, 30, who has Bachelors in Business Administration from Gedu College, Kiran Bhandari, 30, who has Bachelors of Arts from Shillong in India, and Ugyen Wangchuk, 32, who has a Bachelors in Mass Communication from India.

While Pratab Singh is contesting as Metothang chiwog tshogpa and Kiran Bhandari as Pemathang chiwog tshogpa in Pemathang gewog, Ugyen Wangchuk is contesting as tshogpa from Bangtsho demkhong of Samdrujongkhar thromde.

Pratab Singh Darje said after graduating in 2016, he worked in marketing for about two years in one of the private companies in Phuentsholing.

He resigned in 2018 and stayed in the village helping his parents. “I decided to contest in the LG elections because it’s about time to have educated local leaders. I chose tshogpa as it’s good to start from a lower post.”

Pratab Singh Darje said gups and mangmis are busy in their offices and do not get time to meet people directly. “Tshogpas deal with people directly and know the issues better.”

Since his priority is to focus on youth, he said he would develop facilities such as football grounds in the chiwog and keep them engaged because many of them get addicted to drugs. “I would also continue the work carried out by the former tshogpa and maintain the farm road and irrigation.”

Pratab Singh Darje will compete with another candidate from the chiwog.

Kiran Bhandari said she also worked as a marketing officer in one of the private companies for about a year, and as a teacher for more than two years after graduating in 2013.

She resigned in 2018 and stayed in the village. “I would form a women’s group and encourage them to make pickles and turmeric powder.”

She said she would also remind the gup and mangmi to fulfil their pledges made during the election. “I would include elderly people and their opinions in the five-year plan.”

Kiran Bhandari said she is not contesting for employment but to bring changes from the grassroots level, and to be an example for women so that more women could participate in the elections and be efficient leaders.

Kiran Bhandari will contest with three other candidates.

Ugyen Wangchuk said he worked in a hotel in Dubai after graduating from India in 2012 for about a year and was an information and technology (IT) instructor for about six months.

He said he stayed at home after resigning from the job in 2015. “I am contesting for the thromde tshogpa because it is important to get experience from the grassroots level and know issues better.”

Ugyen Wangchuk said there are waste management issues in the demkhong because there is no landfill. “We do not get services such as waste collecting vehicles, although the demkhong is under the thromde.”

He said that he would focus more on constructing the landfill and addressing the waste issues in the demkhong.

Ugyen Wangchuk will compete with a female candidate for the tshogpa post from the same demkhong.