๐—œ๐—ป ๐˜€๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—Ÿ๐—ผ๐˜๐˜‚๐˜€

Speaking to the Bhutanese media after successfully registering and obtaining the election commission of Bhutanโ€™s (ECB) green signal to compete in the 2023 National Assembly (NA) elections, President of Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) spoke about โ€œcleanโ€ politics. In the words of the President Dasho Pema Chewang, the party will be โ€œcleanโ€ in all aspects.

This contradicts the general concept shared globally that politics is prone to corruption, no matter how detailed the legislation, no matter how noble the party and its candidates. Thus, it is construed that politics is dirty. So much so that aspiring politicians say one has to either be a popular figure, sure to win in an election or rich, so that the partyโ€™s coffers remain full. Otherwise, political parties shut the doors. It may be true. It may be the words of few who are disgruntled.

There is also the tendency to equate electoral corruption or dirty politics with money, which is not necessarily the case. Being clean or playing and engaging in clean politics would mean refraining from everything negative. It would be abstaining from mudslinging, character assassination, using muscle power, infusing fear and other tools that political parties use. In the Bhutanese context, it could be equated to minding oneโ€™s own business. โ€œLet others say and do what they wish to. We are here to sell ourselves. Vote for us.โ€

While attempting to be clean is in itself a difficult task in politics, other factors add to it. Rules and regulations mandate that political parties need representatives at various levels. This has given birth to the โ€œTshogpas,โ€ who are considered the muscles of parties. And in todayโ€™s world, there is no free cup of coffee. Tshogpas have to be paid as they are the foot soldiers. Their demand for financial incentives is justified.

The payment or incentives that they take make them responsible and accountable for the partyโ€™s fate. Victory becomes a must. It is then that they begin to sharpen every arsenal at their disposal, leading to what is termed as dirty politics.

This does not mean that politics cannot be clean. It can. Yes! Your representatives at different levels need to be paid. This is not being dirty. It is like any other profession. But that is where one should draw the line.

As mentioned earlier, dirt in politics can come in different shades. We have witnessed this. It happens even at the local government level. And apart from the aforementioned factors, unbridled ambition, lust for power and the desperation to achieve it at all costs make politics murky.

It may be difficult to remain crystal clear and clean. But it is not impossible. The beautiful lotus grows from a pond that is more than just dirty. Our leaders can be like a lotus. Our political parties can be like the lotus. And the country needs this flower!