Dawa representing Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Tenzin Norbu representing Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) have completed their common forum for the up-coming Chhoekhor-Tang by-election which will take place on 19 November 2020.
Tenzin Norbu said that though he did not get a chance to go on a familiarization tour due to COVID-19, his campaigning has been going well so far. He said, “There was no crowd during campaigning as only one representative from each household had come to attend the campaigning. However, I am happy with the turnout. We made sure that COVID-19 protocols were followed.”
He also said that as a part of COVID-19 protocol, they had to conduct two common forums in each polling station instead of one and it was time consuming and there is no time for do door-to-door campaigning.
Nevertheless, he said, “Looking at people turnout I am satisfied and see high probability in winning but let’s wait for the final moment. I am thankful that the party and president in particular were so supportive.”
Dawa said that he has completed his common forum on Thursday and he is doing door-to-door campaign in a meantime. “I feel I gave my best during common forum but I might miss out some households during door-to-door campaigning due to time constraint. I have made a few pledges,” he added.
Listening and talking to people, he said that they seem to know the importance and advantage of supporting the ruling candidate. He said, “If they want further development and wants his pledges to be fulfilled than people can support him but one should know the government does everything, starting from planning to allocation of budget.”
As a ruling candidate, even if he can fulfill 80 percent of his pledges it would be of advantage to the people, he said, adding that however, it’s their right and he believes they would choose the best.
“I have been receiving immense support from my party president and party as a whole. I lose or I win, DNT will remain as the ruling government. However, considering the by-election as significant, Lyonchhen despite his busy schedule visited the constituency twice during the campaigning as he has high regards and goodwill for the people. And I am thankful for his support always,” he said.
Meanwhile, as per Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), the total registered voters for Chhoekhor-Tang By-Election under Bumthang is 6,219 of which 2,904 are male while 3,315 are female voters.
In addition, the total postal voters registered for the ongoing Chhoekhor-Tang By-Election is 1,567 of which 1,435 are registered postal voters within the country and 132 are overseas postal voters.
According to ECB’s spokesperson, 11 polling stations (PS) have been identified. “The office of the Returning Officer has received 86 percent of the total Postal Ballot issued till now whereas, the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) sealing is to be completed on 13th November 2020,” he added.
He said that ECB is fully mindful of the need to put in place all necessary measures aimed at addressing concerns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. “The foreseen challenges relating to pandemic have been discussed at length at the commission. ECB has incorporated all the COVID-19 protocols of the health ministry and they have strategy and SOP put in place for the conduct of the bye-election,” he added
In addition, the Dos and Don’ts for the voters visiting the PS during the poll day have already been communicated by the Dzongkhag Election Authority and the voters are well aware and ready.
Wearing of face masks, washing hands at PS, maintaining social distance while in the queue, sanitizing hands before entering the polling booth will be mandatory, he added.
While concerted efforts have been made by the ECB and local authorities to encourage optimum voter turnout through numerous advocacy programmes, he said that it will remain a challenge to expect 100 percent turnout.
“All the eligible voters turning up in person to PS to cast their votes must at all times ensure compliance with COVID-19 protocols,” he said.
It was learnt that till date no disputes have been recorded. The election will take place on 19 November.
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