How elections are being seen in rural Bhutan

The Chapcha-Bongo constituency receives good turnout for the common forums

The Common Forum of Bongo-Chapcha constituency under Chukha started on 28 August. It will end with Getena gewog on 4 September.

In terms of turnout Chapcha saw 188 people, Bjabchho saw 120, Bongo received 181  and Darla received around 195.  In addition, the Common Forum of Phuentsholing constituency also started on 27 August with 109 people coming and it ends with Loggichina gewog on 4 September.

During the common forum, each party candidate was given 10 minutes to present their manifesto. In addition, representatives from the ECB educated the people on how to use the electronic voting machine (EVM) during the poll day.

A 74-year-old voter from Gedu under Bongo gewog, Chukha, Singey, said, “Even though we are excited for the elections, people like us are somehow in confusion, not knowing whom to chose because when we watch the debates, and parties keep alleging  against each other, and thereby, we are left not knowing whom to trust and whom not to.”

He further said, winning depends on people’s vote and on their fate, therefore, there is no use discriminating and make allegations against each other for the sake of a vote. He also said that all the candidates are capable, and their pledges are good which can benefit people in many ways, but they should be united rather than blame each other.

He said, “If a party does everything without including those things then there won’t be any reason to confuse us and we can vote for those who speak from the heart.”

Tshering Lham, 47, from Gedu said that people are now well educated on the importance of election. She said in the past elections, people did not bother to vote and felt it was just a waste of time. According to Tshering Lham, villagers are now proactive and encourage people to come for every event related to elections, and are aware of the importance of each vote and the difference it can make. “People are indeed happy to see more parties coming in front and excited for the day,” she added.

She said that all the parties and candidates are capable, however, whichever party gets elected, and they expect the winning party to serve country and people with full dedication and with equality.

Rinchen Dorji, 66, from Gengu, Darla gewog, Chukha said that with the frequent campaigning by the party candidates and shows hosted on BBS, they are now able to identify the logos of each of the parties.He said that although the majority of voters can identify the party logos, however, there are a few who are still confused with the party logos, and this may be because of old age or lack of education on political issues.

Compared to 2008 and 2013 elections, he said that the people are now more educated and they know the value of each vote. “If people are well educated then this is a chance where we can elect capable candidates to serve people and country in better ways,” he added.

He also said that there are some people who are still confused and ask others to help them decide, which is not healthy. He said, “Educating people about the party and election process is the best way to make election a fruitful one, and a chance to make a choice.”

Listening to all the four parties and their pledges, he said that the political parties are all capable, and there are many things which need to be done for the sake of the people. Thereby, he said, “It is now in our hands to listen to them and chose the best among the four, and there is a chance that everything will get better in future.”

Radha Devi Thapa, 29, from Norgaytey said that for the development of the country, democracy is a must, and for that, it is a sole responsibility of people to choose the best for better development and benefit.

Educated people can identify every party and are aware of the importance of election, she said.  “Nevertheless, there are villagers who are still not aware, to even identify the individual party logo and objective of the election,” she said. She said that most people do not give much importance to the elections.

“During the Poll Day, they just go and vote for a person who they know. They don’t see which party will benefit the country and which candidate is capable. Maybe because they don’t understand the language, many people don’t watch the debates being telecast on BBS,” she added.

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