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Bhutan Observer
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Three candidates pass FLT, by-elections to be held soon in Pemagatshel
Gyembo Namgyal, September 05, 2013
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Of the four candidates who sat the functional literacy test (FLT) to fill the two vacant posts of tshogpa in Dagor and Bongman in Pemagatshel, three have cleared the test.

The election commission had to conduct the mandatory test on September 2 to prepare for the by-elections. The result puts to rest the worry that the two chiwogs might have to make do without tshogpa.

“There was a serious fear that no one would come forward to take the test. We are now much relieved that two candidates from Dagor have passed the test,” said Shumar Gup Lepo.

Kezang, 46, one of the candidates who sat the test, said that people of Dagor do not want the chiwog to be merged with Tshatsi in Nanong gewog. Because of lack of tshogpa candidates in Dagor, a merger of the chiwogs was discussed in the earlier meetings as a solution to be considered.

“We don’t have the requisite qualification to become a tshogpa. We had no choice but to heed to the chiwog’s call,” said Kezang. “With time, needs have changed and there are challenges that my NFE learning can’t be of much use.”

Forty-six-year-old Sherub, the other candidate who sat and passed the test, looked not very interested to be a tshogpa.

Dagor, a village of 46 households, is the remotest chiwog in Shumar. It shares border with Tshatsi village in Nanong. Despite Dagor being closer to Nanong, villagers opposed the merger.

The post of tshogpa in Dagor was left vacant after the incumbent was disqualified because of criminal charges against him.

The lone candidate from Bongman in Khar also passed the test. Karma Wangdi, 36, said he had to sit the test because the villagers wanted him to be the tshogpa. Also, there was no one willing to sit the test.

“Ours is a village of just 18 households but it cannot be clubbed with any other chiwog. And there is no one who could be an ideal tshogpa. Some are too old, and then there isn’t any qualified person in the productive age group. I had no choice but to take the test.” said Karma Wangdi. “If I get elected, I will work hard. That’s the only assurance I can give.”

Khar Gup Chhoidrup said he is happy that Bongman now has a qualified candidate for the post of tshogpa. The post remained vacant for two months after the death of the incumbent.

By-election will be held soon, said the election officer.

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