The generals are wearing-thin the days as July 13 approaches on the political map where the primary round already left many holes for the two contending parties, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), to repair in respective territories.
The parties both have enough under their arms to boast of, but the two sides are more caught-up in strategies to pump steam for the general election day.
In the primaries the former opposition party had claimed victory in 12 constituencies and the former ruling party won in 33 constituencies while a new party the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) claimed two constituencies.
The DPT received 93,949 votes (EVM 77,679, Postal Ballots 16,270) to win the elections; the PDP received 68,650 votes (EVM 55,021, Postal Ballots 13,629) to become the second party to compete for the general elections.
The two new parties Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) received 35,962 votes (EVM 28,799, Postal Ballots 7,163) and 12,457 votes (EVM 11,576, Postal Ballots 881) respectively.
The final tabulations of results, it is no foresight that voters have not at all voted on the lines of gender neutrality or women empowerment.
Save for the DNT president who beat the rest of the parties with a huge difference in her constituency, Thrimshing in Trashigang, the same formula did not apply for the DCT president who could not hold her own among the North Thimphu candidates where the only male candidate among three women candidates took home the victory.
The DNT president Dorji Choden received 2,038 votes (EVM 1,316, Postal Ballot 722) to beat the rest of the party candidates. On the other hand the DCT president Lily Wangchhuk in her own constituency scored the least votes among the North Thimphu candidates, 144 in total from 133 EVM votes and 11 postal votes.
The DPT candidate Kinga Tshering scored highest in the women-heavy constituency with his 1,533 EVM votes and 142 postal votes which gave him a total of 1,675 votes.
The PDP candidate Sangay Tshoki received second highest number of votes with 1,338 (EVM 1226, Postal Ballot 112) while DNT’s Sangay Zam received 599 (EVM 564, Postal Ballot 35).
In another unlikely trend of events, the PDP swooped to snatch both constituencies from under what was thought to be a DPT domain in Wangduephodrang. Mostly, this little projection would be made because of the ongoing Punatsangchhu projects which accounts for developmental works that will hugely benefit the people and settlement in and around the site, and eventually the whole of the nation through the benefits that shall be reaped.
Simply put, the voters in this periphery were supposedly DPT-inclined, but things turned out differently.
The PDP scored an easy 2,759 (EVM 2358, Postal Ballot 401)in the Athang-Thedtsho constituency and 2,977 in Nyisho-Sephu constituency (EVM 2,643, Postal Ballot 334).
The DPT’s 2,977 (EVM 2643, Postal Ballot 334) in Athang-Thedtsho and 2,306 (EVM 2,073, Postal Ballot 233) conceded a natural defeat to the former opposition party’s votes.
In the Punakha constituencies where the former ruling party candidates in 2008 defeated PDP candidates in both constituencies of Kabji-Talo (where the former PDP president stood as candidate) and the Lingmukha-Toewang, this primary elections the DPT met with disappointment as it conceded defeat and lost both constituencies to its old rival PDP.
For the DPT and its Punakha candidates, the defeat in Punakha also comes as a double whammy as the former National Council (NC) Chairperson resigned from his post to compete as a party candidate while Sonam Wangyel Wang left his post at the Royal Education Council (REC) to compete politics under a DPT ticket.
The two DPT candidates had replaced Tshering Penjore and Namgay Wangchuk in the respective DPT turfs.
The former NC chairperson and REC Director received 613 (EVM 515, Postal Ballot 98) and 1,328 (EVM 1,151, Postal Ballot 177) votes respectively. The PDP candidates scored 2,663 (EVM 2,275, Postal Ballot 388) and 1,438 (EVM 1,136, Postal Ballot 302) votes to win in the constituencies.
Also in Haa, Bji-Katsho constituency where the DPT had fielded what it thought a veritably stronger and prominent candidate – there too it lost a constituency to the PDP. And without much of a pre-emption the DPT candidate in Sombaykha constituency (the former Opposition Leader’s constituency) lost.
In 2008, the DPT candidate of Bji-Katsho Ugyen Tenzin (now replaced by Dr Gado Tshering) secured a DPT win in the constituency while DPT candidate of then, Tshewang Rinzin (now replaced by Dago Tsheringla) in Sombaykha lost to Tshering Tobgay.
PDP candidate Tshering Tobgay received 1,346 (EVM 1,110, Postal Ballot 236) votes to defeat DPT Dago Tsheringla’s total votes of 390 from 326 EVM votes and 64 postal votes. While in Bji-Katsho DPT’s Dr Gado Tshering who received 836 votes (EVM 714, Postal Ballot 122) lost to PDP’s Kinley Om (1,313 total votes through EVM 1,115 and Postal Ballots 198).
The east except for Thrimshing in Trashigang, it was a DPT drive-by as it conquered one eastern dzongkhag after another.
The DPT lost a constituency to PDP in Bumthang while it lost two to PDP in Chukha.
In Bumthang Chumey-Ura constituency, the DPT received 787 total votes from its 617 EVM votes and 170 Postal votes whereas PDP beat its scores with 570 EVM votes and 91 postal votes which gave it a total of 661.
In Chukha, PDP trumped DPT scores with its 3,863 votes (EVM 3271, Postal Ballot 592) in Bongo-Chapcha and 1,769 votes (EVM 1,653, Postal Ballot 116) in Phuentsholing constituency. However, the DNT was the clear winner in the Phuntsholing constituency with its 1,807 EVM votes and 62 Postal Ballot votes which totals to 1,869 votes.
At this juncture transpirations are any soothsayers’ or the so-called political pundits’ domain but with the ECB approving candidates to switch parties, a probable phenomenon of horse-trading may be on the agenda for the two parties contesting the general rounds.
At the same time if the two parties or the new ones are to ‘keep the faith’ with the very unpredictable Bhutanese voters, they just might have to shine their good sides no matter what the stakes.
This, if mathematically interpreted in political terms means that DPT and PDP stand to gain from the vote banks of DCT and DNT if they strategize exactly around and where they need to tie-up loose ends.
The writer is the News Editor of The Bhutanese – Sonam Pelvar