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The returning officer seals the EVM in Thimphu before handing it over to the presiding officer
The returning officer seals the EVM in Thimphu before handing it over to the presiding officer

Thimphu, all set for poll day

While the campaigning period for the five candidates in Thimphu ends today at 9am, candidates say that they ended their campaign by yesterday. 

Among the challenges they faced during their campaign, the candidates cited the increasing dog population, both pet and stray as one of their biggest challenges in reaching their voters. Locating the registered voters of Thimphu in the town was another challenge. 

The candidates shared that since they were already short of time and it was difficult to find the exact location of the voters. Most of them were hardly able to cover seven houses a day because neither the owner nor the tenants have their census registered in Thimphu. 

“Sometimes we knock five houses and none of the residents would be registered voters of Thimphu,” one of the candidates said. “Then again we’ve to go knocking and can’t cover the area even if we want to.” 

Candidates also shared instances where they had to run from the dogs every time they knocked on the door and the owner of the house would not respond. A candidate shared that he had to once jump over a gate when a dog chased him. 

Another candidate suggested that instead of door-to-door campaign, common forum for specific places or area wise would have been more convenient in Thimphu because they spent most of their campaign time locating registered voters. 

With limited time and bad road condition, the candidates said they could not visit Lingzhi, Naro and Soe gewogs for door-to-door campaign. They met the people of these gewogs during the common forum while two candidates managed to visit them during their familarisation tour. 

“I tried my best to meet people from these gewogs when they migrated to Paro and Haa during winter,” a candidate said. “Whatever we wanted to convey to the voters, we had to do it during the familirisation and common forum,” another candidate said. 

Meanwhile, of the 15,737 voters registered for postal ballot facilitation booth, records with the returning office show that including those at the mobile facilitation booth, 10,327 turned up to vote on April 12,13 and 14. A total of 104 polling officials were deputed at the postal ballot facilitation booths.

With 164 polling officials already deployed to the 27 polling stations, Thimphu dzongkhag is all set to conduct the poll day on April 20. 

The office of the returning officer has received about 492 conventional postal ballots to date against the 761 postal ballots it issued including those sent to the armed forces by the Election Commission of Bhutan. 

The office has sealed 57 EVMs and deputed it with 164 polling officials. Of the total 27 polling stations in Thimphu, three would have two voting booths for each polling station that have more than 1,000 voters. Thimphu has 14,272 eligible voters, of which, 6,720 are males and 7,552 are female.

Yangchen C Rinzin 

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