DNT heavyweights up against DPT in the east

Though most of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) strongest candidates are from east, during the primary round, they lost out to Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) proving the latter’s stronghold in the eastern region. In fact, it was a landslide victory for DPT during the primary round in the east.

However, DNT president Lotay Tshering said he is not only worried about winning in the east but every constituency.

“Every constituency counts because they represent Bhutanese people. I am equally concerned about all 47 constituencies. However, my biggest worry is not about DNT candidates in the east losing but the country being divided on party lines,” said Lotay Tshering adding that this could divide the country forever. “The primary round of the 2018 elections has been the most unconstitutional voting pattern until now.”

Lotay Tshering said it is not about the strength of the DNT cabinet but having no representation will pose problems. “It is going to mentally divide the country that’s why the general round is very important to keep this country together.”

Going by talks doing the rounds, DNT heavyweights are the following and even if they serve as opposition, it would prove to be a serious loss for the party.

What will be a game changer is the choice of party of voters who earlier went for People’s Democratic Party and Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party.

President Lotay Tshering said they have enough candidates from the winning constituencies that can form the cabinet but DNT’s bigger worry is that for five years there will be no representation in the cabinet from the east. “For the next five years, all debates in the parliament that will happen between the government and opposition is going to happen between the east and west.”

The DNT heavyweight list includes Dawa, 40, former broadcast journalist contesting from Chhoekhor-Tang constituency in Bumthang; Sherub Gyeltshen, 63, Public Administrator/Vice President from Monggar constituency in Monggar; Pema Wangda, 59, former Labor Secretary from Nanong-Shumar in Pemagatshel and Ugyen Tshewang, 57, former NEC Secretary from Khar-Yurung in Pemagatshel.

Tenzin Lekphell, 52, Management Specialist will contest from Bartsham-Shongphu in Trashigang while Sangay Dorji, 59, former RCSC Commissioner will contest from Boomdeling-Jamkhar in Trashiyangtse.

President Lotay Tshering who was speaking at a meeting with the people of Shumar Gewog on September 26 promised that both the candidates of Nanong-Shumar and Khar-Yurung constituencies will be offered ministerial posts if they win the election.

Dawa will fight the battle with his uncle Pema Gyamtsho from Chhoekhor-Tang constituency in Bumthang, also the President of DPT. Pema Gyamtsho served as the agriculture minister and the Opposition leader. On the other side, Dawa is a renowned media personality and a popular figure with vast potential.

Pema Gyamtsho secured 2,540 votes while Dawa could just manage 921 votes in the primaries. Chhoekhor-Tang constituency has a total of 6,051registered voters: 2,842 male and 6,051 female.

In the Monggar constituency in Monggar the clash is between 63-year old superannuated civil servant Sherub Gyeltshen and seasoned politician, Karma Lhamo, 37. This is the third time that Karma Lhamo will be contesting in the elections. Back in 2008, she was elected as the member of parliament but lost in 2013.

Though there is not much difference in the vote counts between the two, Karma Lhamo secured 2,601 votes while Sherub Gyeltshen managed 2,056 votes with a difference of 545 votes. Monggar constituency has 10,455 registered voters including 4,976 male and 5,479 female voters.

Pema Wangda, 59, is the former labor secretary and he will face 33-year old Lungten Namgyel from Nanong-Shumar constituency in Pemagatshel. Both the candidates are new in the race. The latter holds a Bachelors degree in Life Science from Sherubtse College. Lungten Namgyel is a replacement for Dechen Zangmo who replaced former Prime Minister Jigme Y Thinley back in the 2013 elections.

Lungten Namgyel received 3,516 votes while Pema Wangda secured 1,513 votes only. The total registered voter in Nanong-Shumar is 9,457 with 4,596 male and 4,861 female voters.

From Khar-Yurung constituency, former NEC secretary Ugyen Tshewang of DNT will contest against Tshering Choden the former candidate of PDP now contesting for DPT. Forty-six year old Tshering Choden contested back in 2008 but lost and took a break from politics.

She received 4,066 votes while Ugyen Tshewang secured 1,489 votes. The constituency has a total of 9,589 registered voters with 4,703 male and 4,886 female voters.

Passang Dorji, 38, is the DPT candidate from Yangner Gewog. He is a newcomer and a replacement for Wangdi Norbu the former MP of Bartsham-Shongphu constituency in Trashigang. He will fight against veteran Tenzin Lekphell who participated in the 2013 elections. The 52-year old is a Management Specialist and one of the founding members of the party. Passang Dorji brings along a wide range of experiences in civil service, media, civil society and the private sector.

Passang Dorji received 3,377 votes while Tenzin Lekphell got 2,404 votes during the primary election. Bartsham-Shongphu constituency has 11,302 total registered with 5,353 male and 5,949 female voters.

Sangay Dorji, 59, former RCSC Commissioner will contest against Dupthob of DPT, the veteran politician who has never lost from his constituency Boomdeling-Jamkhar in Trashiyangtse. The people of his constituency has always voted for 40-year old Dupthop and this time it remains to be seen if they will still favor him.

Dupthop received 2,701 votes while Sangay Dorji got 1,471 votes. The constituency has a total of 9,212 registered voters with 4,418 male and 4,794 female voters.

The party president Lotay Tshering said with the different electoral pattern, the primary round is on grounds of party and the general round, candidates and the party expects to win in a lot of constituencies in the east because the party has “better” candidates than DPT. “The electorate is now educated and parties favor civil servants who voted for them during the primary round.”

“We stood first in postal ballot count because we have lot of postal balloters who know how to decide and we are very confident that they will decide on merit of the candidates. Change in the results of primary and general round is obvious,” he said.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu