A call to urban voters
Trashigang: The hopefuls of the upcoming local government election in some eastern gewogs are urging the voters living away from their villages to take part in choosing the right leaders.
They say people from their gewogs living in urban centres are also expected to help make the election a success.
The aspiring candidates say civil servants, corporate and private employees hardly participated in the local elections before.
“A gewog is no longer just a centre for registering one’s census but the highest village-level governing body administering plans, policies and development of a community,” said former Shogphu Gewog Gup Kinzang Wangdi. He said civil servants, corporate and private employees working outside their dzongkhags should participate in the election.
The holders of permanent resident status in the gewogs working elsewhere turn to gewog officials only in times of need like when they want their children’s census registration, said Kinzang Wangdi. Otherwise, he said, the urbanites did not even bother to know who were elected as gups, mangmis, and tshogpas.
People living in urban areas are least bothered about the happenings in the villages thinking it is none of their business, said Bartsham Gup Neten Duba. He said such misconception needs to be changed.
Neten Duba said the development of a village now mostly rests on the plans and policies framed by leaders at the gewog level. It is only by exercising the right to vote that one can elect a leader who could be entrusted with the responsibility of the development of his village or gewog, he said.
“People from our villages residing in other parts of the country are impressed by the developments in other dzongkhags like Paro. But they should understand their dzongkhags could be developed only if they take part in electing a good leader,” said Neten Duba.
The local government election is as important as the parliamentary one, the former gup of Kanglung Gewog, Ugyen Dorji, said. The local government is an institution that works at improving the livelihoods of our rural folks who make most of the country’s population.
Kinzang Wangdi hopes for a better voter turnout this time with the availability of the postal ballot. He urged the people of his gewog living in urban centres to make use of the postal ballot to elect the local leaders to make the future of rural folks better.
He said urbanites should now start assessing the aspiring candidates to ensure their votes go to right and deserving contestents.
The election officer of Trashigang, Sonam Wangda, expects the voter turnout to be higher in the coming local government election compared to the past ones. “We have circulated postal ballot forms to every eligible voter including dependants of civil servants,” Sonam Wangda said. The same forms are also made available to all the institutes like colleges and schools.