While filing the Letter of Intent (LoI) on 5 May, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) has submitted two names to the office of Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) for the Radhi-Sakteng constituency in Trashigang.
One name being of that of Jigme Tshultim, 37, and the other a lady whose name has not been revealed to this paper.
The mode of submission suggests, on the part of the DPT, that Jigme Tshultim introduced last week as DPT’s candidate from Radhi-Sakteng constituency could stand to be replaced due to his past criminal record. And the lady is on standby, in case the ECB should reject Jigme Tshultim’s candidature.
On contacting the DPT spokesperson Khandu Wangchuk refused to comment further but only said, “Jigme Tshultim remains as the candidate of DPT as of now.”
Meanwhile, Jigme Tshultim himself said that he has got all the clearance from the concerned agencies to make him eligible to contest in the elections.
Though there are reports of the 37-year-old being involved in brawls in the past, and he has also openly accepted that he was sentenced for petty misdemeanor, in lieu of which he had paid thrimthue (compensation).
In one of the brawls, the candidate had hit a police officer who was then the officer in command (OC) in Mongar, in 1998. The case was registered with police and was charge sheeted to court on 12 January, 1998.
It was learnt that on 18 February, 2002 the judgment was passed, but what the verdict was, is not known as stated by the victim, retired Major Tilak Sharma.
Article 23(4)(c) of the Constitution states, a person shall be disqualified as a candidate or a member holding an elective office, if the person is convicted for any criminal offence and sentenced to imprisonment.
Jigme Tshultim said that he got all the required documents and clearances, including the police clearance, as of now.
“I do have a record of legal background,” he said. “I don’t think this will be a problem,” he added.
Article 23 (6) of the Constitution further reads that in order to provide for an informed choice by the voter, a candidate for an elective office shall file, along with his or her nomination, an affidavit, “declaring records of criminal convictions, if any; and whether the candidate is accused in a pending case for an offence punishable with imprisonment for more than one year and in which charges are framed or cognizance is taken by a court of law prior to the date of filing of such a nomination.”
A petty misdemeanour shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment, a minimum of which shall be one month and a maximum of which shall be less than one year as per the Penal Code of Bhutan.
Chencho Dema/ Thimphu