PDP & BKP votes: game changer for the generals

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It has been accepted by the two political parties, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), that the game changer for the general round will be the votes that they will garner from earlier People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) supporters.

In the primary round, there was a difference of 644 votes between the two parties in terms of postal votes and the EVM vote differences were 2,058.

PDP and BKP’s combined postal votes come to 34,112 postal ballots and 74,544 EVM votes. These votes will decide the fate of the parties in the general round on October 18.

Presidents of both the parties accept that the votes that went to PDP and BKP will be the game changer and they have been actively reaching out to party supporters and coordinators for support.

In an interview with Business Bhutan, DPT president Pema Gyamtsho admitted that the votes of BKP and PDP supporters will be the deciding factor. “Though we have enough support base to win, the additional votes from these parties will give us high chances of winning the elections. Anything can happen; it can be the game changer for both DPT and DNT,” he said.

While it cannot be predicted which constituencies PDP won will lean, both presidents are confident they can garner a majority of the vote bank.

The question is how much inroad DNT will make in DPT’s stronghold, which is the entire eastern region and how DPT win the votes in the west and south.

Pema Gyamtsho said that the objective of the party is to not retain the 22 seats but to win 47 seats.

“If retaining is important then I would have concentrated only on the 22 seats,” he added.

DPT won 22 constituencies during the primary round and had a landslide victory from the eastern region which made them qualify for the general round but the party was unable to woo voters from the south, north and west.

DPT managed to win just one constituency each from south in Samtse from Dophuchen-Tading constituency and Lamgong-Wangchang constituency in Paro. While from the central part DPT won four constituencies from Bumthang and Zhemgang and none from Trongsa.

Talking about how many seats the party is looking forward to win from the south and west, he said as many as possible.

“The prospect of the party forming the government looks good and promising. We are prepared to win and looking forward. Winning is the only thing,” Pema Gyamtsho said.

He also said that the party is not worried about what happened in 2013 elections. “We are not expecting the India factor despite all the news that is being circulated. We don’t expect any impact from that kind of news,” he added.

Similarly, DNT was able to garner votes from rest of the Dzongkhags but could only win one constituency from the east: Maenbi-Tsaenkhar constituency in Lhuentse. In total DNT won 16 constituencies which are a mix of constituencies from north, west and south.

Lotay Tshering said the party is targeting at least five to seven seats from the east. He said except for a few constituencies in the east potential to win is high for DNT while except for some constituencies in the east, the vote margin is minimal and it is possible for the party to win.

The DPT president has been reaching out to the supporters of BKP and PDP and likewise the supporters and the coordinators of the two parties are also reaching out to the president. “At the end of the day, the nation is more important than individual party interest,” he said.

DNT president has also been trying to garner the support of party supporters and coordinators of both BKP and PDP in all the constituencies as he believes the election is unpredictable. He said the response from them has been good so far and he is still in the process of meeting some of them.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu