Bhutan is a relatively new democracy with only about 15-16 years of experience in modern elections, (and) we have come to Goa on invitation by Election Commission of India providing us the opportunity to learn from the vast experience and expertise of election exercise in India, stated the Chief Election Commissioner of the Election Commission of Bhutan – Sonam Topgay. He was speaking during the debriefing meeting held today.

Topgay speaking further said in comparison with India, Bhutan has few years’ history of democracy. We have to learn a lot from the largest democratic country with diversity like India.

Topgay speaking about Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) mentioned that Bhutan also uses similar technology and informed about the signing of an MOU between the Election Commission of India (ECI) and Bhutanese Election Management Bodies to facilitate collaboration. He emphasised the importance of randomisation for transparency in the electoral process in India and acknowledged the use of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), noting its role in boosting the confidence of Indian voters. The Chief Commissioner expressed interest in exploring the use of VVPAT machines in Bhutan to empower voters to verify their votes. He was impressed by the innovative decor observed at different polling stations, such as the unique pink and green themes and model polling stations, recognising their potential to enhance voter turnout.

Topgay congratulating the Election Commission of India lauded the endeavour of entire election team for achieving a milestone of 75 percent with peaceful and smooth process. Rather than offering suggestions, Topgay expressed eagerness to learn. He commended the peaceful conduct of the election and extended congratulations to the election authorities of Goa especially the Chief Electoral Officer and his team and all those who were involved in ensuring the success of the election for achieving a milestone of 75 percent. He also shared his fruitful experience of three days visit wherein he visited polling booths in the State.

A representative from Bhutan’s media  official reflecting on his experience, highlighted the thematic setup of polling stations, including those catering to Divyang      ( PwDs ) individuals and the vibrant green and pink themes, as valuable lessons to take back home. He commended Goa’s initiative to plant saplings which proves the State’s commitment to becoming eco-friendly. Furthermore, he appreciated the efforts of the Election Officials which catered to the needs of every voter by providing refreshing drinks. He also admired the well-organised arrangements. Assistant Chief Electoral Officer, Sapna Naik Bandodkar welcomed, Nodal Officer Observer, Brijesh Manerkar briefed about the details of election procedure in Goa while Nodal Officer Sangeeta Naik proposed the vote of thanks.


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