Well, the results of the primary elections 2018 are out.
The runners up Druk Phuensum Tshogpa came out as the surprise winner. Despite all the negative mileage it has received in recent times including reruns of the seditious party tag and accusations from some quarters, it fought its battles well, and emerged triumphant.
DPT has always been a party well loved and one could say that its dignified stance and capable leadership including wide support from the voters in the east gave it an edge even over the previous government, the People’s Democratic Party.
What went wrong with the PDP? One could see that it had a strong voter base in the west and south but it still lost. One could also see that its presence was weak in the east. Further, one wonders what kind of image PDP projects-from the leadership to its manifesto, which hinges majorly on freebies. Perhaps it did not go well this time with the Bhutanese voters who seem to have recognized authenticity in a party.
As for Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party it suffered a crippling defeat. The President lost out in her own constituency and we are left wondering if people still have a bias against women leaders or BKP’s strategy went wrong from the start. It is famous for its allergy towards the media. And in politics where image plays a large part in how people view you, it comes as a resounding liability. That saying maybe BKP was too idealistic-they hoped to make it on the strength of their principled leadership but politics is to say little, more than that. However, BKP was succesful in making corruption a national issue during their campaign.
Finally, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa which promises change, as a lot expected, emerged the winners in the primary elections. It is good that the Bhutanese are giving a new party a chance. It shows they are becoming independent thinkers, maturing in their idea of democracy. DNT’s media savvy, strong team of candidates, a capable, well spoken leader and clearly charted out manifesto plus their determination to stay out of dirty politicking seem to have worked in their favor. Not to say they did not get embroiled in controversies at the end but the party’s positives propelled them to the forefront. They had sound number of voters from the east, south and west, which goes to show that they catered to all segments of the Bhutanese society. Also, their slogan of narrowing the gap seems to have struck a chord in a nation where wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few. Similarly, their promise of healthcare services as priority especially in rural areas appears to have worked.
Whatever said and done, the people of Bhutan have decided and chosen. And it shows the evolution of democracy in Bhutan in the past decade.
We see that prejudices and pre-judgments make little difference to the voter mentality. At the end, it is about a party, which manages to win the trust of the people with its authenticity and competence.
As we wait for the general elections poll day, let us hope and pray that Drukyul decides the best!