Including the incumbent, Khaling gewog has five candidates vying for gup in the upcoming Local government election.
The incumbent gup Tashi Dorji, 41, from Barshong chiwog, is hopeful this time too if people are looking for someone with experience. Tashi Dorji has 13 years of experience in local government including eight years as mangmi.
Tashi Dorji said that during his recent tenure as gup he achieved all major works of the 11 FYP such as bridges, renovation of farm road, irrigation channels etc.
“It was like fulfilling wishes of all the people as we could renovate all the lhakhangs that were damaged by earthquake,” Tashi Dorji said. He also said that he ensured every home has water supply and enough water for irrigation and the gewog always worked towards conserving water and sustainable management of forest resources.
Pema Cheki, 39, from Khaling Gonpa Chiwog is another aspiring candidate. A non-formal education instructor, Pema Cheki said she wanted to contest because woman representation in local government and parliament was very low considering that women constituted 50 percent of the population.
She said that in its maiden election Bhutan elected a dismal 10 women against 62 men to parliament and in local government, a maximum of 100 women were elected against more than 1000 men.
Pema Cheki said that it is only through democratic representation that women’s interest can better represented and challenges reported. Her participation would serve as an example and inspire more Bhutanese women to join politics.
“Increasing women’s representation in politics can empower women and women’s representation in the government is necessary to achieve gender parity,” Pema Cheki said.
Tashi Tobgay, 32, of Gomchu–Kholdung Chiwog said he decided to contest as it is also a means of serving the country.
He claims that elected gups in the gewog has been taking independent decisions in apportioning gewog budget and in most cases the budget is not utilised for intended purpose.
“There is no information on how the gewog budget is being utilised and there is no transparency,” Tashi Dorji said.
He also added that people are not provided the platform to raise their problems and the gups take most of decisions on behalf of the people.
“So if elected I pledge to provide all the freedom and work in close consultation with the people,” Tashi Dorji said.
Chenga Tshering from Bayphug Chiwog is the youngest from the five candidates. Chenga Tshering believes that he better understands problems of both young and old.
“We are living in a wonderful era,” he said. “I think each and every Bhutanese is trying his best to contribute to making democracy a success.” Chenga Tshering believes that he is a credible alternative to the people of Khaling gewog.
Representing Bayphug Chiwog is 27-year-old Yeshi Wangchuk. “My village is located far from the gewog centre and do not receive equal development,” said Yeshi Wangchuk adding that although the incumbent gup served well, yet in terms of understanding the real problems in the village, he did not know much.
He pledges to help bring equal development in all villages and building homes for abandoned old parents in the villages and constructing Lhakhangs are some of the foremost activities to be carried out.
Khaling gewog has six chiwogs with population of about 5,961 people and 3,733 registered voters.