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Parties field candidates for bye-elections

Candidates launched for the upcoming bye-elections in Mongar and Nganglam constituencies

By Tashi Namgyal

Come 29th of June, the bye-elections will witness a plethora of talents on display. A fresh face, a diplomat, an old-hat and a rural expert is all set to lock horns for two seats in the parliament.

The two political parties have finally fielded their candidates for the upcoming bye-elections for Mongar and Nganglam constituencies which were left devoid of any representatives to the National Assembly (NA).

The bye-elections are off-shoots of the sudden demise of DPT MP from Nganglam, ChoidaJamtsho, and the resignation of DNT MP from Mongar, Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen following his conviction by the court.

A twist in the tale

Given the prospect of landing a ministerial berth and other interests, it has become almost a norm for political candidates to switch parties. For instance, the 2013 general elections saw seven top DNT candidates, including the party president joining PDP. Four of them became ministers. Similarly, a few present DNT MPs were either DPT MPs or members.

Needing no introductions, DNTโ€™s candidate Karma Lhamo had contested the last three National Assembly elections with DPT but chose to switch her affiliations this time around. The 42 year-old will be locking horns against 30 year-old Dorji Youdon, a fresh face representing DPT from Mongar constituency.

Although she resigned from politics after her defeat in the 2018 elections, Karma Lhamo believes that so long she works for the country and her constituency, changing parties was insignificant.

โ€œIn my experience as a politician, my allegiance has always been with the people I pledged to serve,โ€ she said.

Attributing her maturity over the years with her association with DPT, she was quick to mention that being a woman was one critical reason that hinged her onto politics. Ledgers

A fresh face from the old shelves

DPTโ€™s fresh face is Dorji Youden, a mother of two directly out of the books piled inside the library decks of Lhuntse Higher Secondary School.

A class of 2016 from Sherubtse College with majors in Dzongkha and Media studies, she assumed several leadership roles and was part of activities aimed to empower and help community members. Party members define her persona with social work and empathy.

Hailing from Chali village in Mongar, she describes herself as a motivated and committed person and believes that oneโ€™s attitude defines her being. According to the party members, her rural background and upbringing have shaped her identity as a humble, hardworking and determined woman.

Asked what her conviction would be as a politician, she said, โ€œI know how much our youths are suffering because of unemployment problems in the country. I will propose and champion for legislative and policy measures to address this pressing social peril.โ€

She further adds that her wish and dream is to see all the youths engaged in productive employment to live a meaningful and happy life that they deserve.

On a much bigger note, she hopes and aspires that her participation in politics will encourage young women to come forward to serve the country and people in a male-dominated profession.

Whatever it is, her zeal and zest will be put to test on the poll day against her opponent who remains mightily favourite considering the present scenario.

Who will fill the old boots in Nganglam?

The untimely demise of MP ChoidaJamtsho has left a gaping hole which equally calls for a strong candidature from both the parties in Nganglam constituency.

DNT has fielded one of the partyโ€™s founding members and an IT professional, Karma Dorji to represent the party and the people of Nganglam in the NA. It is his second time contesting the elections, the first one having lost to MP ChoidaJamtsho in 2018.

The 45 year-old, in a press note, stated: โ€œFor the Nganglam constituency, we have promises to keep and aspirations to meet. And it is only through this golden opportunity of working with the party in the government that we can find the right solutions.โ€

As the party in governance, he said the responsibility also fell on DNT to present two professionals with proven track records in Bhutanโ€™s democratic process as a choice to the people.

โ€œThis is why we have well-meaning, sincere candidates who would like to make a difference in their constituencies through the ruling platform,โ€ the party president said.

However, his nemesis comes in the form of Rinchen Pelzang, his opponent and the DPT candidate for the bye-elections.

The 37 year-old brings along 13 years of valuable experience in the civil service and hands-on knowledge about rural Bhutan, having mostly served in the rural pockets of the country. He also worked with the Japan International Cooperation Agency as its project coordinator of Punakha Dzongkhag.

He holds a Bachelor and Diploma Degrees in Agriculture Science from the College of Natural Resources and obtained a PG Diploma from the International Agricultural Training Center in Israel. While in Israel, he was also a goodwill ambassador for Bhutan Tourism Corporation Limited.

If victorious, Rinchen Pelzang aspires to champion for the legislative and policy instruments to make the agriculture sector vibrant and a source of gainful employment for the youths of Bhutan.

Of the 46 seats in the National Assembly, DPT currently holds 16 seats whilst DNT has 31 members.

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