As the results of the Primary Round of National Assembly Election 2018 show, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) has an outright majority in the two constituencies; Dramedtse-Ngatshang and Kengkhar-Weringla, in Mongar. Even the combined votes of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Bhutan Kuen-Nyam party (BKP), cannot beat DPT in these two stronghold seats.
However, there is one constituency in Mongar where DNT feels it has a chance if the voter combination works its way.
DPT secured 4, 964 votes from the constituency and DNT won 1, 844 votes.
PDP got 1, 644 votes while BKP could secure only 853 votes.
DPT’s candidate, Ugyen Wangdi, said, “I am positive that I can win from my constituency, and even the combination of PDP, DNT and BKP cannot defeat me. My popularity and relationship with people is the main reason why DPT is so strong in my constituency.”
He said that people have high regard for DPT since 2008 and also approve of his performance both within and outside the Parliament.
“I am one MP who is well known in Bhutan,” he added, “While it is generally assumed that there will be higher voter turnout during general election, I feel that in my constituency, there will be not much difference in the turnout because people from urban areas will not travel all the way from Thimphu to to vote and many are not eligible for postal ballot.”
DNT’s candidate, Jigme Dorji, said, “Because general election is based on candidates and not on party, there will be some changes in votes, but still my chances of winning is very less.”
He said, “DPT is strong in east especially Mongar and Pemagatshel because in the east votes are not based on strong party or candidates and their pledges. People in east vote for the party because they have a very strong attachment with the party.”
The candidate said, “I feel that DNT will form the next government. From the primary results, DNT won 16 seats and PDP won in 9 constituencies. Because of DPT versus PDP factor, if PDP votes for DNT, DNT has 25 seats. In the east voting pattern is different as almost all constituencies are dominated by DPT but there are many constituencies in east where DNT came second and with PDP’s support, DNT can easily win 4 to 5 seats in the east which can make it a total of 30 seats to form the government.”
Karchung, 59, DPT’s coordinator from Balam gewog said, “In Balam gewog, DPT has more supporters because when it formed the first government in 2008, it was able to convince the people, that for the development of east, DPT is the right party and people believe that DPT has done well and if given an opportunity, the east can develop further.”
He said, “In addition, people in Balam feel that DPT has good pledges compared to the other parties. I think DPT will win from our constituency and about 60 to 70 percent of the people from the constituency will vote for DPT, but at the same time, we cannot say because votes change overnight.”
DPT received the highest votes from Mongar with 2, 601 votes and DNT got a total of 2, 056 votes.
PDP secured 2, 045 votes and BKP got 584 votes.
DPT’s candidate, Karma Lhamo, said, “If fear factor and internal coalition is not there, I am very confident that I can win in the general election.”
She said, “I am educating the voters that they should vote independently and all four political parties are independent and a coalition is not allowed.”
DNT’s candidate, Sherab Gyeltshen, said, “I am positive that PDP and BKP voters will vote for us, but I am not saying that all the people who voted for PDP and BKP will vote for us, but more than half of PDP voters will vote for us.”
He said, “Primary round result was based on party but general election is based on candidate, so, there will be some changes in votes.”
Sherab Gyeltshen said, “Out of five gewogs, three gewogs, Tsamang, Tsakhaling and Chali have more DPT supporters but two gewogs Mongar and Drepoong which have more registered voters have more PDP supporters.
If PDP voters from two gewog which has highest voters vote for DNT, it has more chances.”
Tshewang Choden, 46, DNT coordinator from Chali gewog said, “Today voters are well informed and educated about parties, candidates and their pledges.
Though it is believed that DPT has more supporters from the constituency, DNT has equal chances particularly because of their pledges to prioritize health sector.”
She said, “There are many who feels that DNT has more chances because DNT’s candidates are more experienced and capable than DPT. If we want ministers from the east, DNT candidates like, Jigme Dorji from Dremedtse Ngatshang and Sherab Gyeltshen from Mongar are more capable than DPT’s candidates.”
DPT secured 3, 487 votes while DNT won 2, 292 votes. PDP got 956 votes and BKP managed 485 votes DPT has an outright majority in the constituency.
DNT’s candidate, Kuenzang Drakpa, said, “Why people would vote for DNT from my constituency is because DNT is much stronger, in terms of candidates and their pledges. I have an experience of working in government service for more than 35 years and I feel that I am much more experienced and capable.”
He said, “In the constituency, DPT is very strong because DPT was the first government and it has more supporters and coordinators whereas DNT is new and we do not have as much supporters as DPT.”
Sonam Tshering, 37, DNT’s coordinator from Kengkhar said, “DPT’s candidate from Kengkhar Weringla constituency is from Kengkhar gewog and all Kengkharpas voted for DPT. In addition, he served as DPT’s candidate from 2013 and over a period of 5 year as opposition party, he travelled extensively to gewogs and developed good relation with the people. So all Kengkhar, Jurmed and Kheng Weringla would vote for him.”