The ovens are heating up.
With elections only about a week away and political campaigns in full swing, social media has recently become a crucible for heated discussions, mudslinging, fake news and defamatory comments.
However, what recently made the headlines and added fuel to the already roaring fires was the recent social media post by Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga on Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT). DPT claimed that he had openly “demonized” the party.
The gist of the comprehensive post was that he was releasing a book on Bhutan’s democratic transition titled ‘Political Contests as Moral Battles’ and wanted to reveal an excerpt. He has basically pointed out that DPT is a political party that has undermined the monarchy. For instance, he gives examples of the infamous July 19, 2013 video which was termed seditious and DPT’s opposition of the national land cadastral survey, Royal Education Council and Druk Holding and Investments.
He states in no uncertain terms that DPT tried to malign and attack the monarchy while trying to win public sympathy. This has been like a bomb in the face of the elections. And we are left wondering whose side we should take: DPT or the two-term National Council chairperson who is known as a scholar and intellectual? And in a situation which most Bhutanese would find themselves excruciatingly torn, the institution of monarchy is also dragged in the whole chaos.
There has been a backlash too on Facebook against Dasho Dr Sonam Kinga but diverse views have been expressed by commentators and observers.
First comes the question of truth: what is the truth? We are sure that a man who has always been known for his powers of intellect would not spin a fable out of a matter so serious. And his arguments stand convincing.
However, what a lot of people have been unable to digest is the fact that he has dropped this whole earth shaking narrative at a time when people’s political sensitivity is heightened due to the parliamentary elections.
And the motive seems clear: to at least project DPT and its remnants in a certain light. The party has been on a drive to re-establish itself as a game changer in the political scenario but this comes as a major dampener and is expected to have repercussions on its image, popularity and the number of people who vote for it this time around.
Moreover, he has clarified that he posted the excerpt before the ECB issued the notification against posting on political parties.
However, should we then believe it is naivete on his part? Or as he justifies he wants the electoral to make an informed decision?
No doubt it is a bold move from Dasho but when such come from a person who is looked up to and respected, we question the motives and the precedent it might set.