‘I will work hard to fulfil my promises’

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s Karma Gyeltshen, who won the recent by-election in the Khamdang-Ramjar constituency of Trashiyangtse, talks to Business Bhutan’s senior reporter Chencho Dema about his plans for the constituency, his priorities and how he won the by-election in the constituency, which is considered a stronghold of the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT).

Q. You have barely two years to serve as the MP of your constituency. Do you think you can keep all the promises you have made to the people of your constituency?

A. I know that I have barely two years left, but within that period of time the promises I have made to the people are achievable and feasible. If the situation of the Covid improves, in the remaining two years, even if I cannot fulfil all the promises in my manifesto, I should at least be able to start because some of the activities already undertaken can be implemented within the two years. My only concern is how the situation of the Covid-19 will improve. Incidentally, every government has the prerogative to fulfil most of its promises towards the end of its term, and two years is quite a lot, in my opinion, to fulfil the promises.

Q. Did you expect to win from Khamdang-Ramjar constituency in Trashiyangtse, which is considered a stronghold of the DPT?
A. I know that Trashiyangtse is a stronghold of DPT supporters, but in this by-election, I knew that people would make a wise decision on who to vote for because there is a clear indication that this by-election will not be fought between the candidates but between the government and the opposition. This was not unexpected because in 2018 I put up a good fight even though it was a DPT stronghold constituency. I think people knew this time because we had a by-election earlier in another constituency where people also got the mandate and took the opportunity to vote for the ruling government candidate, but it was worth a fight.

Q. What can the people of your constituency expect from you?

A. I feel that the people expect you as the ruling government to bring about some changes and I too feel that the people have given me the mandate by electing me as the MP from their constituency and I myself will also do all that I can perform with full conviction and commitment. I thought that I would be able to exercise my prerogative within my means to fulfil the promises I have already made to them.

Q. In the 2018 election you did not make it to Parliament but today in the by-election you won with a good number of votes. What is the reason for that?

A. One of the factors could be that the successive general elections have made people wiser, more educated and more cognitive about their choices. One factor, as I said earlier, is that I have stood in elections many times in the past. In 2013 I stood for the National Council and in 2018 I stood for the National Assembly. Therefore, people thought it would be fair if they allowed me to serve them for the remaining term. Also, people thought that I keep on standing, why should they not at least give me a chance in this by-election when we can make a clear choice for the ruling government. Another factor is that people in my constituency might have thought that voters in similar by-elections in other dzongkhags voted for ruling party candidates and that it would be wrong not to consider a ruling party candidate.

Q. Will you contest in the next elections?

A. Whether I will not contest the next elections depends on the party, whether I get the ticket to contest and also on my personal decision as to how the people can give me the mandate. The next election will depend on how I am able to implement the developmental measures I promised the people during this term. It will also be my personal decision whether I run or not, but at this stage I cannot give you a definitive answer, but it will depend on how I will be able to fulfil all the commitments that I have already promised during the by-election.

I am grateful to the party for placing its trust in me and also to the people of my constituency for electing me and giving me the chance to serve them and be their voice in the parliament.

I will work hard to fulfil my promises and serve them well during my tenure. At the same time, I wish my opponent candidate Jigme Tashi well in his future endeavors. I am also thankful to my well-wishers and family members for their support in the by-election.

I am indebted to my party workers who worked hard to enable me to win and succeed in this by-election.