He is also first council aspirant from Trashigang so far
Election 2013: Despite a succession of National Council aspirants from across the country making public their wishes to contest for the second round of elections, Trashigang so far had none.
It finally does.
The dzongkhag’s first aspirant for the council seat, however, happens to be the first that Trashigang received when the council election was called, back in 2007.
National Council’s Trashigang representative, deputy chairperson Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga, through a post on his Facebook page, made public his intention to re-contest for the upcoming elections scheduled to take off early next month.
“My decision is to humbly seek nomination as a candidate again from Trashigang in order to re-contest for another term in the council,” he had written.
Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga, who was conferred red scarf during the National Day last year, is the first of the incumbents to declare his interest.
“Many people feel that if you are a performer in Parliament, then the right place is in the National Assembly,” he said.
Choosing to dispel this notion, he decided to seek nomination to contest for council to “emphasise the importance of the equally important institution”.
“I also made the decision on personal grounds, feeling that at this point of time in my career as public servant, I would be best able to serve our country and people by remaining non-partisan and apolitical,” he said.
His decision, however, comes at a time when the serving council members are confronted with the quandary with regard to their eligibility to re-contest.
While election commission had announced they should resign to re-contest, the council had argued the law allowed them to sit in office, complete five years term as well as take part in the election. Having to resign meant forgoing the retirement benefits.
Does his move indicate the confusion has been cleared?
“I have taken my decision irrespective of whether one has to resign before completing ones term in the council or whether their post service implications are acquired or not,” he said, adding he was optimistic every incumbent member of the council who may decide to re-contest would also have based their thinking on similar lines.
Without a single aspirant from Trashigang so far, many thought, besides the dzongkhag already being his stronghold, the recent award His Majesty conferred him reinforced that notion, leaving others with slimmer chances.
But he said in 2007, although he was the first person to declare interest, for eight months, when candidates from other dzongkhags were coming out in open, there was none from Trashigang. However, during the last month, two other contenders emerged.
“So it would not be a surprise to see some gewogs field or nominate a candidate in next few weeks,” he said.
He said he would like to see a few more candidates come from Trashigang to do justice not only to its size in terms of demography and geography but also because of the diversity Trashigang represents with highly qualified and capable people working in different sectors.
However, he said he would not like to be complacent at the idea that his representation in the last five years would have anything to do in dissuading or discouraging other contestants.
“It will only be proper that the largest dzongkhag in the country with a population of over 62,000 have more than one candidate to choose from,” Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga said.
He fondly remembers working with his colleagues on issues pertaining to local government elections, LG Act, working to institutionalise “question hour”, constituency development grant and the issue of state funding for political parties.
“Whatever has been possible in the council is a result of teamwork,” he said.
By Kesang Dema