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.