Kuensel reporters 

Residents of most dzongkhags have been witnessing bigger crowds it the towns, and heavier traffic movement for the past few days, as voters rush to their villagers for the poll day.

The fourth National Council election is not talked about much in some towns. However, the residents say many have come from other dzongkhags to vote.

Voters in Trashigang were concerned about the weather as it started raining in the east. “Hopefully, the weather gets better tomorrow or else it would deter people from going to vote,” Tungchi, a Thimphu resident, said.

Most of the voters in Samtse Kuensel talked to had come from Thimphu, Paro and Wangdue. The voters came in packed public buses and taxis.

Sangay Dorji, 53, working in one of the corporate offices in Thimphu said that he is familiar with all the candidates. “The pledges were all on developing our dzongkhag. We are expecting a dynamic and vocal leader who can raise our issues while framing national policies.”

Kencho Dema and her husband came in a private car along with their newborn. They could not manage a bus ticket. The couple from Tendruk said that they do not know their polling station yet.

Yeshi Dorji from Khebisa in Dagana has eight eligible voters in his family. Most of the members from other towns who did not have access to postal ballots couldn’t come home to vote. He said that he was well aware of the election rules and regulations as it is the fourth parliamentary election.

“All candidates are equally competent. I have a hard time choosing the right one,” he said.

While many knew much about their candidates, there were some who came to their hometowns to vote but did not know their candidates.

A businessman from Bajo, who travelled to Sarpang for the NC elections, said, he did not know any of his NC candidates and their pledges. “I did not even get enough time to watch their public debate.”

“Upon reaching home, I have to discuss with my relatives to choose the candidate. While it is important to decide independently, I believe villagers are more familiar with the candidates who can benefit our community the most,” he said.

Likewise, many voters in Paro are aware of their polling stations but they do not know all the candidates and their pledges.

Chencho, 56, a farmer from Zhelngo, Shaba Gewog said that he knows only two candidates of the five nominated in the dzongkhag. He said he missed the common forum because he went for treatment. “I will vote for the most experienced.”

A 22-year-old shopkeeper, Sangay Dorji from Pangbisa, Lungnyi Gewog said that he knew three candidates thoroughly. Sangay Dorji is excited to vote since this is his first time voting in the national parliamentary elections. “I would go for an experienced one to resolve youth-related issues.”

Pema Zam, 26 years old from Shaba Gewog, a trainer at Bondey Institute of Hotel and Tourism said that she came to know the candidates from brochures distributed in the gewog, but she has no idea of their pledges.

A group of men from Mongar returned in the local bus from Autstho, Lhuentse where they work on contract, for the poll day.

Many residents of Mongar and Lhuentse said that their relatives living in other dzongkhags didn’t turn up for the election due to long distance, and expenditure. They said that it would have been better if the ECB provided them with postal ballot facility.

A shopkeeper in Lhuentse said, “It won’t make any difference personally by electing an NC member. However, people should vote to elect the best representative who will contribute to nation-building by framing proper laws.”

A taxi driver in Haa, who came to vote from Paro, said that he is voting for a candidate based on his ability to speak and knowledge of the country’s laws. “A candidate with little knowledge about the country’s law might not serve us efficiently.”

Tshering Dorji from Jamkhar village in Trashiyangtse, who returned home from Mongar, said that voting was very important. “We need a capable and right person, who benefits people and the country at large to represent us.”

He said that he took leave from the construction work and came to vote. “I didn’t want to miss the chance to vote.”

Voters are happy with the ECB’s decision to allow the voters to produce either Voter Photo Identity Card or a CID card.

As the border gates will remain closed on the poll day, the workers from across the border returned home towards yesterday evening.