Bye-election campaigns fare well despite covid scare

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) candidate from Nganglam Rinchen Pelzang
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) candidate from Nganglam Karma Dorji

Sangay Rabten

Despite the challenges posed by the rising number of cases in the southern regions, the bye-election campaigns for Nganglam and Mongar Constituencies that had begun from Wednesday has been faring well till date.

Nganglam

In Nganglam constituency, the bye-election campaign for the two contestants, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) candidate Rinchen Pelzang and Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) candidate Karma Dorji has so far seen them go for door-to-door campaigns. They are also seen campaigning together.

As per schedule of Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), common forums in two chiwogs of Gashari and Menchu had been covered starting from Wednesday this week.

After witnessing a very low turnout in the common forums the two candidates are pessimistic that not much will turn for the actual polls too.

However, DPT’s candidate Rinchen Pelzang said that it is inspiring to see public’s support towards the bye-election campaign.  He said that despite being busy with their own tasks the public come forward to listen to them which is humbling.

Rinchen Pelzang went to Dezama under Choekhorling for door-door campaign after attending the common forum at Menchu village under Norbugang gewog yesterday.  

Meanwhile, Karma Dorji was at Dechheling gewog for his door-door campaign after attending a forum at Menchu when Bhutan Times contacted. 

He said that the public are showing interest towards the bye-election and said he is motivated with the response.

Phuntsho Choden from Menchu chiwog said that public are going to attend the common forum and making their presence during the door-door campaign.

She said that the people are looking for the candidate who can better understand their problems and needs for people besides their qualification and experiences.

Sonam Phuntsho from same village said, “We are looking at a leader who can raise their voice after understanding the problems of common people.”

Meanwhile, a DNT party worker from Norbugang, Dorji Wangdi, said that though important to judge the qualification and experiences of the candidates, this time, it is better to vote after judging the party. He said the voters to give a thought if they can reap benefit from the party in power.

The Returning Officer (RO) for Nganglam Constituency, Sonam Tobgay, said the ECB is conducting the campaign as per the mandate of health ministry. He said that ECB officials follow the COVID-19 safety protocols.

During the common forums only 30 people are allowed to gather after making them to wear face mask, maintaining safe distance and washing hands. He said that the official provide masks to those who don’t carry one.

“So far, preparation for the election is going good,” the RO said. 

Mongar

In Mongar Constituency, DPT candidate Dorji Yuden is on routine campaign framed by the office of ECB. She is trying her best to leave no stone unturned. She goes for common forum and to door to door campaign after the common forum whenever it is possible.

The last door to door campaign for Dorji Yuden after completing common forum at Drepung was at Chagsazor and Tsenkhar villages. She said that people are respecting their campaign and they manage to attend the forum. She said “common forum and campaign are going smoothly.”

DNT’s candidate Karma Lhamo shared similar story. She said that one member from each household attend the common forum and “campaign is going very cool and calm.”

She said that Desuups and polices are facilitating the common forum and monitoring the covid safety protocols.

However, she shared that common forum is more effective than door to door campaign.

Meanwhile, The Election Commission of Bhutan has extended the registration date for conventional postal ballots facility till May 31 for the upcoming bye-election in Mongar and Nganglam demkhongs.