Much of what was said, however, may have sailed over the tops of the audience’s head
When the three council candidates of Pemagatshel head off for the common forum campaign organised by election commission, they were like buddies going for a regular meeting.
They helped each other with the planning for the common forum, and the submission of campaign expenses accounts to the commission. Before the common forum begins, they wish each other the best of luck.
At the Chongsing gewog centre, the three candidates – former councillor Jigme Rinzin of Shumar gewog, Pema Wangchuk, 33 of Nanong gewog and Sherab Jamtsho, 29 of Decheling gewog in Nganglam – spent 30 minutes each to talk to the 100 people gathered there.
Chongsing gewog is a three-hour drive from Pemagatshel town.
Jigme Rinzin explained in simple Dzongkha his slogan on his campaign poster that read ‘Inspire faith in democracy, fulfill people’s aspirations, together we shall ensure successful implementation of 11th five year plan’.
Jigme Rinzin said his only and important reason to re-contest was that he felt that he could not do as much as he wanted to during his five-year term as councillor. “If you support me this time as well, I won’t hesitate raising at the parliament issues faced in the villages like I did earlier,” he said.
Some of the pledges he made were to address youth unemployment, as most youth were from villages. While reviewing laws, he said he would work towards addressing equal distribution of income.
Nangong’s candidate Pema Wangchuk, who spoke after Jigme Rinzin, said his legal background gave him a good understanding of the country’s legislation. “With this benefit, I think I can do it well as a member of legislative body.”
Pema Wangchuk shared with the public his three strategies should he be elected. First was to ensure that government proposed legislation were adequately reasoned to key issues confronting Pemagatshel and the nation.
“I want to scrutinise the national budget to ensure that scarce resources are allocated to areas adequately, and review the modality of resource allocation,” Pema Wangchuk said.
Decheling’s candidate Sherab Jamtsho, holding his notepad gave his reasons to contest.
“Having stayed in my village for more than nine months, I can claim to understand issues rural villagers faced in their daily lives,” he said.
“Youth problems, like unemployment and crimes, and rural urban migration are two of the main issues I’d want to address,” Sherab Jamtsho said.
His other manifesto pledge is to attend to human-wildlife conflict by scrutinising existing laws and regulations
The common forum in Chongsing was the fifth in Pemagatshel that began since April 3.
The people of Pemagatshel said they were having a difficult time trying to make sense of what candidates say at the common forum, because the delivery is in Dzongkha.
“Should candidates deliver their messages at common forums in local language, Sharchopkha, it would have been easier for us to know what they can do for us as our representative,” an eligible voter, Choezum, 50, said.
During the live public debate held at Pemagatshel middle secondary school last evening, which was attended by about 100 people, including some school students, all three candidates spoke in Dzongkha with ease and confidence.
“It’s just a summary of what we have to say at the common forum, for which it does not require any extra preparation,” Pema Wangchuk of Nanong gewog said a day before the live public debate.
By Nirmala Pokhrel, Pemagatshel