Why did the votes go to Dawa?

The people of Chhoekhor -Tang Constituency, a DPT stronghold for the past three consecutive elections, have embraced a new candidate from the ruling party, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and rejected the Opposition party.

This was unlike what happened in Pemagatshel when former PM Jigme Y. Thinley resigned.

This affinity towards a new political party, in wake of the resignation of former OL Dr. Pema Gyamtsho (Ph.D.), is a likely indication of the slow decline of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT).

The result of the by-election indicates that the people have put behind the past and decisively voted for a party and candidate that could benefit them the most. In so doing, the people have reversed their political loyalty in a dramatic manner, which should be a cause of concern for DPT.

Dawa won the Chhoekhor -Tang Bye-election with 2,889 votes while DPT candidate, Tenzin Norbu secured 1,707 votes.

Postal ballots from Australia favored Tenzin Norbu with 36 ballots while Dawa received 16. There were a total of 62 postal ballots of which 10 were rejected.

A total of 4,596 of the 6,219 registered voters turned out to cast votes of which 1,281 cast postal ballots.

Dawa said that, “People saw me as a candidate for an already elected government, of which, needless for us to point up, they were already aware. It was also an expression of their confidence in the commitments I made, which were drawn up based on the needs of our constituency, arrived at through a consultative process. In the remaining years of the government’s term, I will strive towards fulfilling them.”

“It comes to me as a sacred responsibility to be representing the people of the constituency. The weight of trust and faith they have entrusted me with will keep me conscious of what the mandate calls for and having to live up to their expectations,” he added.

Factors that favored Dawa

Factors which might have favored Dawa’s victory would be the ruling party factor and campaign pledges. Dawa promised to blacktop the 18km farm road from the gewog center in Chhoekhortoed to Narphel, the 10km road to Dhur from the gewog center, and another 12km from Tang gewog center to Tandigang.

His experience and capability were attributed as another factor for winning the by-election. Many said that Dawa’s performance in public debates was another reason.

Also, the total postal ballot vote count of 1,281, Dawa received 864 votes.

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering campaigning for Dawa was also one of the advantages that Dawa had to swing the vote bank in his favor.

Finally, Dawa himself could be seen working hard during the campaign since for him, the win would be a great clinch.

People’s views 

Not many were surprised when Dawa was declared the winner on the evening of November 19.

“Although the bye-election is over, it raises a question of whether the Bumthaps of Chhoekhor-Tang constituency were loyal only to Dr Pema Gyamtsho and not the party. The moment he left, the voters turned their back on the party and voted for a new candidate from the ruling party because he made rosy promises,” said a political observer who requested anonymity.

Another observer said it was Dawa’s popularity that made him the winner along with his manifesto.

Maybe what a civil servant said summed it up: “Bumthap folks have understood politics now.”

Chhoekhor-Tang constituency has 6,219 registered voters-2,904 male and 3,315 female. There were 1,530 registered postal voters and 4,596 voter turn-out.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu