Na­tional In­ter­est First

Business Bhutan - - Editoria -

Pol­i­tics is not only get­ting dirt­ier but dan­ger­ous too as less than a week re­mains for peo­ple to go to the polls of the gen­eral round of elec­tions.

The heated cam­paigns and ag­gres­sive po­lit­i­cal dis­course and de­bates based on party lines have gen­er­ated a lot of ten­sion and an­tag­o­nism among sup­port­ers of two ri­val par­ties com­pet­ing to form the next gov­ern­ment. Such po­lar­iza­tion is ex­pected in a po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment dur­ing elec­tion time.

How­ever what is deeply dis­con­cert­ing is the fact that fa­nat­i­cal in­di­vid­u­als are drag­ging the names of sa­cred in­sti­tu­tions and apo­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions into the squalor of pol­i­tics. Dis­turb­ing voice mes­sages that smear the sanc­tity of these in­sti­tu­tions are go­ing vi­ral in WeChat and Face­book. As Bhutanese, we must pause and re­flect and ques­tion the po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tion of these in­di­vid­u­als.

While elec­tion is an im­por­tant demo­cratic process to self-de­ter­mine the gov­ern­ment of, by and for the peo­ple, it can­not come at the price of the na­tion’s unity and se­cu­rity. The elec­tion process is a po­lit­i­cal com­pe­ti­tion to elect the most cred­i­ble party to form the gov­ern­ment. And it must re­main that. We can­not let in­ter­est groups or in­di­vid­u­als to en­gage in dan­ger­ous po­lit­i­cal war­fares and de­vices that pitch ‘us’ against ‘them’ and un­der­mine the very foun­da­tion of our na­tion.

Al­beit demo­cratic elec­tions are im­por­tant, we should also look at other as­pects of our na­tional life. Do we al­low party pol­i­tics to di­vide this na­tion? Should we let elec­toral pol­i­tics to un­der­mine our na­tion’s unity, se­cu­rity and sovereignty?

Po­lit­i­cal par­ties par­tic­i­pate in elec­tions with a pro­found sense of pur­pose – to serve the na­tion in the best pos­si­ble way they can. This must be true for po­lit­i­cal can­di­dates, work­ers and sup­port­ers as well. Shouldn’t their cam­paign then also re­flect sim­i­lar de­sire and pur­pose?

It’s im­por­tant, there­fore, for all of us to think about the larger pic­ture. We can’t miss the for­est for the trees. The larger pic­ture is that our na­tion must be strong and united and that our na­tion’s se­cu­rity and sovereignty are fore­most, above all else. This is even more para­mount given our geopo­lit­i­cal re­al­ity.

To­day we are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing an un­prece­dented level of rift and ten­sion, to the ex­tent that it could rip apart the tightknit fabric of our so­ci­ety. Po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences are bound to hap­pen, no deny­ing that, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing elec­tions. Healthy dif­fer­ences are wel­come. But dif­fer­ences should not un­der­mine the fun­da­men­tal struc­ture of our na­tion. And the fun­da­men­tal struc­ture around which our na­tional life re­volves is the In­sti­tu­tion of Monar­chy. The In­sti­tu­tion of Monar­chy, there­fore, should be kept above pol­i­tics.

At this hour, the im­por­tant thing for ev­ery Bhutanese is to think above and beyond pol­i­tics. We need to think beyond our po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences, and that is, to be con­scious of our na­tion’s fu­ture. At the end of the day, we are ‘one peo­ple un­der one King’ and that is the uni­fy­ing force that brings all of us to­gether as a na­tion.

In less than a week from now, we would be done with our third par­lia­men­tary elec­tions. We would have elected the gov­ern­ment and the op­po­si­tion. Isn’t this time crit­i­cal for us to seize the op­por­tu­nity to cre­ate a demo­cratic cul­ture based on na­tional in­ter­est first? For in the end, the na­tion must tri­umph.

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