DPT President tough in Bumthang
The party president of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa and former opposition leader, Pema Gyamtsho in race with former broadcast journalist, Dawa of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa for the general election from Chhoekhor-Tang constituency, Bumthang.
During the primary election, Pema Gyamtsho secured 2540 votes compared to 921 votes by Dawa. There were 1765 votes through electronic voting machine (EVM) and 775 from postal ballots for DPT and 573 votes through electronic voting machine and 348 from postal ballot for DNT.
The final general election public debate on October 9 saw the candidates talking on their pledges and on unidentified accounts in the social media.
With the opening the floor to the candidates, DNT’s candidate Dawa talked on the importance of country’s security and sovereignty, peace and unity among people and Gross National Happiness (GNH). He said that the party’s pledges of narrowing the gap between the haves and have nots will put GNH philosophy in practical.
Instantly, DPT president, Pema Gyamtsho asked on the plans and
ideas to put forth the Gross National Happiness in practice.
Responding to this, Dawa said that the party has many pledges that lift the benefits for the common people. He said that by providing health facilities like specialists, medical equipments and medicines to the rural areas would resolve the problem of rural people not able to make the expenses to come for check up in urban areas.
On contrary, DPT president said that health is important however, sustainable socio-economic development too. “If the economy is not god, we cannot afford the health services.” He added that how the DNT is planning to cure the mental illness.
To this, Dawa said that the Basic Health Units across the country are deprived of the services and equipments like endoscopy, ultrasound, blood tests and urine tests. He added two parties have plan to provide 0.5mn to 0.7mn as gewog development grant, however, the cost of four medical equipments would cost about 0.45mn. “If we have healthy body in society, we can improve our economy, practice religion and students can study, or in business there is opportunity,” he added.
The debate also saw concerns on the unidentified accounts in the social media attacking the parties and on creating disharmony in the society. On this issue, DPT president said that he felt sad and asked people not to carry out such activities. He added that the DPT’s pledges are very important to improve the economy of the country with aim to achieve selfreliance.
Similarly, Dawa also shared his concerns on criticism of the parties in the groups of wechat, a social media app. Moreover, he asked the DPT party president on solutions on how to tackle these.
Responding to this, Pema Gyamtsho said that because of partisan, people have become divisive and he urged not to do so. He said that he have never criticized any party or candidate. He added that Election Commission of Bhutan is working in full capacity to deal with the unidentified accounts in social media. However, he said that it depends on the individual’s mind, if we cannot control than it is not possible to stop.
Questioning on the hydropower sustainability, Dawa asked DPT’s plan to bring up 10000MW by 2030 besides public debt and cost escalation of the hydropower projects.
Giving justification, DPT president said that the hydropower projects could make country rich in future. He added that idea is not new but already in practice from the past.
While, asked on the kind of leadership who aspires to contribute to becoming a truly GNH country, Dawa said that due to partisan, there are talks that some people are asked not to attend the party meetings. He also added that the voting is not secret anymore.
In line to making Bhutan a truly GNH country, DPT president said that people should know the four pillars and indicators of GNH. He talked on meeting people selfsufficiency, to preserving religion, culture and environment.
Sharing his opinion on contesting in the election, Dawa said that he participated for the seat in party not because of the salary or the authority however, to give a choice to the people to vote.
Regarding the electoral legal provision being too stringent or otherwise, DPT’s president said that it depends on the mindset of the candidates, he added that if the mind is evil than it cannot be modified. He said that people hoped the candidates to work according to the law and not in line to the corruption practices.
DPT’s president said that if there is responsibility to vote, it also falls on what basis they vote. He added that the voting by the people will be based on the party pledges for short term or long term or is it achievable or not.
The president also said that for the candidates to get a seat in party it requires many documents, he said if it is made stringent then there would be very less candidate in future. He gives choice to the people to view both parties pledge as important or not, or achievable or not.
Talking on the party pledges, Dawa said that the party’s pledges are achievable. He added that there are about 50000 people in poverty and declares that when the economy of the country develops, people need to get better too.
DPT’s president said that for the developmental activities in the country, it requires equal support from the local government post holders and civil servants apart from the ruling government. He added that as opposition in last five years, they have worked hand in hand with the government for the wellbeing of the country.