The prac­ti­cal­ity of party prom­ises

Business Bhutan - - Editorial -

The elec­tion cam­paign is in full swing.

We saw the man­i­festoes of the four par­ties pledge big things. We also saw the pres­i­den­tial de­bate hinge on petty pol­i­tics to prom­ise mak­ing. Now, we are see­ing the com­mon fo­rums where the can­di­dates are try­ing their best to sell dreams, a lot of them ac­tu­ally.

Which brings us back to the ques­tion: how far can these prom­ises be turned to re­al­ity? Ev­ery party has promised miles for the econ­omy, the pri­vate sec­tor, health care, ed­u­ca­tion and agri­cul­ture among oth­ers. Some even bor­der­line on free­bies for want of an eu­phemism.

How should we, the vot­ers, take it? Any voter with un­com­mon com­mon sense would look at the prac­ti­cal­ity of the sit­u­a­tion. How will the gov­ern­ment that comes to power ac­tu­ally go about im­ple­ment­ing its prom­ises? Are they doable? Are they prac­ti­cal enough?

How will the party mo­bi­lize re­sources to fund their am­bi­tious plans? The 12th Five Year Plan will need Nu 322bn for its planned ac­tiv­i­ties. How will par­ties fit their prom­ises within the es­ti­mated bud­get? Or how will they raise funds if their plans ex­ceed the bud­get?

With Bhutan most prob­a­bly go­ing to grad­u­ate from LDC sta­tus by 2021, it would be tough to mo­bi­lize donors and fund prom­ises that are es­pe­cially ex­trav­a­gant or flam­boy­ant in na­ture.

Ad­di­tion­ally, we know that dis­tribut­ing good­ies is one will­ful tac­tic of po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Should our peo­ple sell their souls to get one more ex­pen­sive present in stock? Can’t we see be­yond all this and aim for a larger, greater, dig­ni­fied vi­sion?

Prom­ises are good only as long as they are kept. And we don’t want to see a sit­u­a­tion where the food on the menu is de­li­cious but when the ac­tual fare is serve, does not meet ex­pec­ta­tions.

That is why it is so im­por­tant for po­lit­i­cal par­ties to re­main true to them­selves while dish­ing out their prom­ises. You see, again it is a ques­tion of ethics and in­tegrity. Pledge what you can de­liver. Don’t base your prom­ises, es­pe­cially im­prac­ti­cal ones, to dom­i­nate the vote bank. At the end, if you don’t de­liver, you lose cred­i­bil­ity.

And it is also im­por­tant for vot­ers to use their sense and sen­si­bil­i­ties while vot­ing for a party. Don’t just go for the prom­ises. An­a­lyze to see if they are doable. An­a­lyze to see if it aligns well with your own in­trin­sic prin­ci­ples and val­ues. Scru­ti­nize party ide­ol­ogy, can­di­dates and lead­ers.

You might not be able to change the world by vot­ing for a po­lit­i­cal party that prom­ises rea­son­ably. But you will be one step closer to it.

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