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Mixed feelings among voters as they go to the polls


There is a recent death in Sanjay Lopchen Tamang’s neighbourhood in Lhamoidzingkha. This has affected the mood among members of his community, but not enough to stop them from getting excited about voting.

His relatives came from Thimphu a few days ago to take part in the election. The public transport service to Lhamoidzingkha, which is usually empty, has been running at full capacity with many coming for the election.

Some voters are still undecided. “The four candidates are all competent,” Yeshi Dorji from Khebisa said.  “We see politically charged individuals during the National Assembly elections, but NC elections are neutral,” Tshochu from Tashiding said.

Aum Tandin Lham, 82, from Toebisa had never missed voting in an election in the past. “I was eagerly anticipating this election. Due to my age, I’m not sure if I’ll have the opportunity to vote in the upcoming election. But if I live long, I’ll go to vote again, she added.

Tshering Pem, 52, a resident of Changyuel in Punakha, expressed her happiness at being able to participate in the election. She has not decided whom to vote for. “My best wishes to all the candidates. May the best win.”

Voters in Haa will choose between a new face and an incumbent.

Pem, 32, said that she looks forward to seeing who gets elected. “Whoever is elected, I hope they do their best to address issues in the community.”

Pem is still undecided. “I attended the common forum, received them for the door-to-door campaign, and watched them live on television, but I cannot decide who to vote for. 

Both the candidates appear equally capable.”

Haa has 8,448 eligible voters for the NC election.

A vegetable vendor in Bajo related her business to the aspiring candidates. She said that candidates promised to develop the agriculture sector in the dzongkhag. “As a vendor of agricultural products, it is hard to decide who to vote for. It would have been easier if there was only one candidate who pledged to help farmers and people like us in the agricultural sector,” the vendor said.

A 22-year-old shopkeeper, Sangay Dorji from Pangbisa, Lungnyi gewog, said that he is excited to vote this time as the Covid-19 pandemic restricted elected leaders from keeping their word.  “Voting is a right of everyone and electing the right candidate this time will bring a big change in the community,” he said.

Meanwhile, residents of the capital city are still wondering why the Election Commission of Bhutan did away with the postal ballot and postal ballot facilitation booths for employees of the private sector and other institutions.

A voter from Samtse, currently residing in Thimphu said, although his former teacher is contesting the election, he could not vote for him.

An employee of a State Owned Enterprise in Thimphu said that he couldn’t go to his village to vote as it was expensive. Many eligible voters said that doing away with the facilitation booth deprived voters of taking part in the election.

However, many voters availed leave to go and vote. “I am asked by my family to come and support him as a vote makes a difference in the election,” said one.

Like him, voters working in different organisations took leave just because someone is known to them or has relatives contesting in the election.

Namgay Zangpo, 30, from Gelephu, was on their way from Punakha to  Sarpang to vote. “Taking part in an election  is an opportunity. I believe we should actively take part in the election process,” he said.

After watching the public debate, I decided whom to vote for,” she said.

Trashigang received 14,154 postal ballots out of which 295 were rejected. An official attributed to the carelessness while infilling up the identity declaration certificate (IDC), inserting ballot paper in envelope A and forgetting to get the signatures of the voter and witness.