Parties outline their top three pledges

Four political parties talk about their top three promises based on which they believe can secure votes in the 2018 elections.

Headline-grabbing pledges in their party manifestos are what the four political parties, the Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP), Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP), promoting these days to gain the confidence and sway voters in their favor.

According to BKP, their top three pledges are 100% irrigation, reducing nepotism and discrimination in the civil service by rewarding meritocracy and talent, and home ownership for the civil service, corporate and private sector.

Meanwhile, health, agriculture and education have been outlined as the three priority areas for DNT, according to DNT’s former general secretary Tenzin Lekphell.

“The first priority to health is because there is a disparity in healthcare services available to people in different walks of life. We will fix the gap and “go beyond” to the people. We will expand healthcare services and make them accessible,” he said.

The party, according to him, will also focus on creating and enhancing income of farmers given that the bigger section of the Bhutanese population comprises farmers.

“We now need commercial farming. We will identify agriculture produce and fix prices a year in advance. The government will buy the products at the fixed prices and the government will store, market and sell them. This will encourage farmers to work harder,” Tenzin Lekphell said.

Bridging disparities in the availability of education opportunities caused due to financial divide is the third pledge of DNT.

The party’s ideology and principle of ‘Equity and Justice’ for every citizen of the country, the proven track record of the party as a government who put people first and was able to play constructive role as an opposition, and finally a good mix of experienced, matured and highly qualified candidates who will shoulder responsibilities and serve the nation will be the top three pledges of the party, according to DPT president Pema Gyamtsho.

“We were able to lay a sound economy foundation during our tenure as the government and will continue if given a chance to serve. As an opposition, we did not oppose for the sake of opposing, neither did have the intention to hinder the functioning of the government. Our party candidates have served as ministers, MPs and experienced candidates who have stood in elections once. We have politically experienced candidates with good mix of age,” he added.

PDP having served both in the opposition and the ruling in the past 10 years, meanwhile, promises of better leadership.

“PDP’s leadership is tried and tested and the president of our party is a seasoned leader with proven track record. As the head of the government, he has successfully implemented the biggest ever Five Year Plan. He has also impressed the international community with his diplomacy, charisma and humility. Our party is offering an experienced and credible leadership to the people of Bhutan. Bhutan needs a leader who can walk the talk. And our president has proven this in the past five years.  Above all, he has always and conscientiously served our Kings and the people with humility,” said PDP’s general secretary Jigme Zangpo.

Jigme Zangpo also mentioned continuity for prosperity as another priority.

“The PDP government has delivered on its promises. We have revived the economy and improved the living conditions of Bhutanese from all walks of life. Today, Bhutanese are more confident and optimistic of the future. It is important for us to continue the good works that we have done. We must continue to add onto the building blocks to make our country stronger. PDP offers continuity and stability,” he added.

The party also promises credible candidates.

“The party has the most credible pool of candidates, with a rich diversity of experience, qualification and leadership credentials. They have served in important leadership positions in the government, the corporate and private sectors, comprising former ministers, secretaries, director generals, dzongdags, engineers, planners, to name a few,” Jigme Zangpo said.

“Our country needs and deserves strong and capable candidates to represent the people and take our nation forward. Our candidates are our biggest strength,” he added.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu