LG: Situated on the gentle plains of Ura, Ura Dotshi chiwog in Bumthang is one of the most picturesque village in the country. Clustered traditional houses with rich paintings and all basic amenities make the village a model village in the country. What is missing in the village, however, is a representative.

Villagers are worried that they will be left without representative in the local government and will be left out of developments in the gewog and the dzongkhag. Village elders have been pressuring the former gewog mangmi and tshogpa to contest but both have declined.

The former gewog mangmi, Karma Wangdi, said the villagers have been urging him to contest during the bye-election. “But I am not interested.”

The former chiwog tshogpa, Gembola, who served as the tshogpa for three years, said he couldn’t contest as he now has two houses to look after and he is the only male member in the family.

Ura Dotshi has about 63 households and more than 372 people. Karma Wangdi said that more than 70 percent of the people in the chiwog live elsewhere.

While both Karma Wangdi and Gembola have cited personal reasons for not being interested to contest for the tshogpa, people outside the chiwog say there is no tshogpa candidate from the chiwog because it is an advanced chiwog and the post is a sensitive one.

A former tshogpa from Tang said that it is difficult to be a tshogpa and people of Ura Dozhi are rich and politically aware. “So it becomes very difficult for the tshogpa to work,” he said. “Tshogpa has to settle village disputes and it makes the work challenging.”

Ura Dotshi was left without tshogpa candidate during the previous local government election. Gembola was elected during a bye-election two years later.

The dzongkhag’s election officer, Ugyen Choden, said voter awareness was conducted two times to encourage people to come forward to contest for post of gup. “Even the dzongdag tried to explain why the chiwog needs a tshogpa.”

Tashi Dema | Bumthang