With less than a week left for the poll day, speculations of the outcome are spreading in Trashiyangtse.

The quiescent settlement that was stirred with the initiation of the Kholongchu project is once again buzzing with contemplations surrounding the elections.

Some people have resorted to reading signs of the election outcome in the weather. The cold has set in a bit earlier this year, according to the residents.

“Winter in Yangtse means the arrival of the black-necked cranes. It is likely that the cranes would be arriving a bit early this year,” a town resident said. He claims that this could mean well for Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT).

“Yangtse is a DPT stronghold and the signs of the early arrival of the cranes could be a promising omen,” he said.

However, another resident in Bumdeling said that the cranes are late this year.

“By this time last year, we already had some cranes. There is none this year so far,” he said. “If we are to take any hints from nature, change is upon us. It’s time for Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) to bring change in Yangtse.”

Officials of the Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary said the cranes usually arrive by the end of October and early November.

They said that there are no indications of early and late arrivals and that the cranes are expected to arrive at their usual time this year.

Last year the first pair of cranes arrived on October 5 in Bumdeling.

According to residents of Chorten Kora town, many new faces have increased in the last few weeks.

A shopkeeper, Thinley Zangmo, said that along with new faces, the number of vehicles has also increased in the town.

“These are not Kholongchu project people because project people don’t loiter around like this,” she said. “I noticed the same even during the primary round of the elections.”

She said that business is better compared to the rest of the months.

Today she makes around Nu 5,000 a day selling doma and other refreshments compared to about Nu 2,000 before the election period.

Another businessman, Dorji Tashi, said that groups of people arrive everyday in boleros in the town. “While some of the boleros stop in the town, rest drive out of the town. This is not a common sight that we see here in Yangtse,” he said.

Pema Dorji from Jangphutse in Bumdeling has come to town for shopping. “It is not often that I come to Yangtse but I had some work at the court this time,” he said. “People ask me about my whereabouts suspiciously, as I go around.”

Eyebrows are also raised when people are seen in conversing in groups. “People think we are discussing politics even if we just talk about challenges in getting customers these days,” Tsheten, a taxi driver said.

A town resident, Khandu, said that given the ongoing election, people assume that every discussion is on elections. “I think discussions are important in a democracy. It is an individual’s choice to vote for their choice and there is no harm in discussing it.”

He said that more harmful contents are shared on social media that creates friction and disharmony among people and the community. “If it is for the good of the community, I would rather encourage people to discuss, in groups and at homes with their family.”

Khandu said that as long as the discussions don’t influence others, it is a healthy practice in a democracy.

Meanwhile, a group of men from Khamdang have just arrived in town.

They have come to attend the DPT president’s meeting held yesterday at Gomkora. “People look at us suspiciously. We hear them tagging us with a particular party,” a villager said. “We are just here to listen to the president. We attended the meeting with DNT president few weeks ago.”

Younten Tshedup | Trashiyangtse