DNT ac­cuses ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter of mis­us­ing govt. ma­chiner­ies

Business Bhutan - - Front Page - Pema Sel­don from Thim­phu

Druk Nyam­rup Tshogpa (DNT) sub­mit­ted a let­ter to the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion of Bhutan (ECB) stat­ing that ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Norbu Wangchuk mis­used govern­ment ma­chiner­ies to pro­mote and in­tro­duce new can­di­date of Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party (PDP) dur­ing his of­fi­cial meet­ings.

This, ac­cord­ing to DNT, is a di­rect vi­o­la­tion of the clause 11.6 of the Rules and Reg­u­la­tions of Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties, 2015.

Ac­cord­ing to DNT, Ly­onpo Norbu Wangchuk was on an of­fi­cial trip in Trashigang as the Chief Guest for the 110th

Na­tional Day cel­e­bra­tions. As a min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion, he also vis­ited and or­ga­nized of­fi­cial meet­ings with the pub­lic of Radhi, Merak and Sak­teng Ge­wogs, whereby one mem­ber from each house­hold were asked to at­tend the meet­ing. Dur­ing these meet­ings, Karma Cho­phyel, a PDP can­di­date from Radhi – Sak­teng con­stituency ac­com­pa­nied the Ly­onpo along with the Dzongdag, gups and other of­fi­cials of the Dzongkhag.

“We have been in­formed that in all the Ge­wog meet­ings, the min­is­ter not only in­tro­duced Karma Cho­phyel as the PDP can­di­date of the con­stituency, but the min­is­ter also pro­moted him as the most ca­pa­ble can­di­date in the con­stituency,” states the let­ter. “After the pro­mo­tion of the can­di­date, Karma Cho­phyel was also given the op­por­tu­nity to stand in front of the pub­lic and in­tro­duce him­self.”

DNT main­tained that it is con­cerned about the real agenda of the meet­ing and whether the agenda of the meet­ing needs or de­serves pub­lic gath­er­ing or was it or­ga­nized as an ex­cuse to ac­tu­ally in­tro­duce Karma Cho­phyel as the PDP can­di­date for 2018 elec­tions.

DNT has also re­quested the elec­tion of­fice in Trashigang to ver­ify from Dasho Dzondag, of­fi­cials of the Dzongkhag who were on visit with the min­is­ter and also from the ge­wog of­fi­cials and the pub­lic who at­tended the meet­ings.

DNT, which claims to have ev­i­dence, is ex­pect­ing the ECB to in­ves­ti­gate and feels that the ECB should is­sue warn­ing if it’s found cor­rect and in­form all the Dzongkhags say­ing that no of­fi­cials should mis­use their po­si­tion to in­tro­duce any can­di­date.

“We hope ECB will take this mat­ter se­ri­ously be­cause this is not only the in­ci­dent that hap­pened. We have now come to know that it’s not only ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter, but other min­is­ters are also do­ing the same thing in­clud­ing the speaker who is in Mon­gar cur­rently,” said the DNT spokesper­son. Ac­cord­ing to the spokesper­son, just prior to the 2013 elec­tions, the pre­vi­ous govern­ment (DPT) also used govern­ment re­sources to travel around the coun­try and even now PDP govern­ment is do­ing the same - mis­us­ing the state re­sources on the pre­text of go­ing for of­fi­cial visit and then in­tro­duc­ing can­di­date.

Ac­cord­ing to DNT, the op­po­si­tion leader is also on tour and they want to know whether he is tour­ing as the op­po­si­tion leader or as the DPT pres­i­dent be­cause DPT’s gen­eral sec­re­tary ac­com­pa­ny­ing the op­po­si­tion leader is also against the rule.

“They are mis­us­ing their po­si­tion and power. The rules are very clear. We are not al­lowed to do this and even though we have rules, the im­ple­men­ta­tion is very weak,” said the DNT spokesper­son. The spokesper­son fur­ther stated that there is a need to dif­fer­en­ti­ate a politi­cian from a min­is­ter of the govern­ment.

“Once you are the min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion, you are the min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion for all the peo­ple, not only the min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion of PDP. There needs to be clear dis­tinc­tion be­tween these two roles that one play,” he added.

DNT also main­tained that they don’t have the same level play­ing field as with the op­po­si­tion and the rul­ing govern­ment, and that the par­ties out­side the par­lia­ment are hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time.

“Dur­ing our fa­mil­iar­iza­tion tours, the Dzongdags are pre­vent­ing us from hav­ing meet­ing or any sort of gath­er­ing, but with PDP, they are fa­cil­i­tated by the Dzongdag, gups and of­fi­cials. Peo­ple are gath­ered and new can­di­dates are be­ing in­tro­duced. How can we have level play­ing field like this,” he ex­plained.

“Al­though we have let­ter say­ing that we can go and meet the peo­ple, we are not al­lowed to meet peo­ple by the Dzongdags at district level,” the DNT spokesper­son added.

Speak­ing to Busi­ness Bhutan, ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Norbu Wangchuk, who is in Trashigang, said DNT should stop throw­ing base­less al­le­ga­tion against other par­ties and in­stead fo­cus on pro­mot­ing their party and let oth­ers do their work.

“DNT is get­ting jit­tery about the whole elec­tion ap­proach­ing. As a govern­ment, we have seven more months to work and we would like to work till the last day and it is a part of my ser­vice to meet peo­ple,” the min­is­ter said. And re­gard­ing ev­i­dences, the Ly­onpo asked DNT to put it up to ECB and let ECB de­cide.

“The Dzongdag ac­com­pa­nied me through all my pub­lic hear­ings and the Dzongdag will af­firm that I have never spo­ken a word on PDP can­di­date, leave alone pro­mote him as the best can­di­date. The sup­posed PDP can­di­date has never spo­ken in pub­lic gath­er­ing in my and Dasho Dzongdag’s pres­ence,” Ly­onpo Norbu Wangchuck said. Mean­while, ECB has is­sued a let­ter to PDP ask­ing for ex­pla­na­tion and is wait­ing for their re­sponse.

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