Presidents on the final run

Presidents on the final run

Presidents of the political parties are serving as the flag bearers of their respective parties along the campaign trail i n their bid

In a flurry of events over the past couple of weeks, the Presidents of the five political parties are wrapping up their nationwide campaign trail without any hiccups and in a truly Bhutanese way. Visiting ramshackle huts in the nook and crannies, crossing torrential rivers, trekking lofty mountain passes, and into the midst of the bustling city centers, these politicians fielded whatever remained in their arsenal of overarching manifestos into the gusto of the title deciders: the electorates who will be going to polls next week.

A hugely gratified president of Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP), Dasho Pema Tshewang shared that he had a fruitful session with the people of Bhutan, despite time constraints. He reassured that the party’s manifesto, characterized by being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART), resonates well with the public and is gaining traction. The party pledges to empower citizens, emphasizing good governance, removing structural barriers, and fostering an environment for individuals to achieve their full potential and secure decent incomes.

The BTP President has so far covered several constituencies, including Thimphu, Trashigang, Mongar, Samdrupjongkhar, and Pemagatshel, with plans to extend their reach to additional Dzongkhags despite time constraints. While the party aspires to cover every gewog, the President opined that time limitations necessitate strategic decisions about campaign locations.

BTP emphasizes the importance of every pledge in their manifesto, categorizing them under different themes for highlighting during the campaign. For a new party striving to reach every corner of the country, BTP acknowledged that time constraint is a significant challenge.

BTP contends that the focus of every party is on marketing its own manifesto, and they have not encountered efforts to tarnish their image during the campaign.

Under the banner “For a Better Drukyul”, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) reported a strong resonance of their campaign message, covering over 20 constituencies, holding multiple campaign meetings in larger constituencies, and with plans to extend their reach despite time constraints.

“The party commends the wisdom of the Bhutanese electorate, noting their understanding of current challenges such as economic struggles, unemployment, inflation, and income disparities,” the party President, Dasho Tshering Tobgay said.

PDP outlined a comprehensive strategy to reach every Bhutanese, focusing on diverse demographics. The party emphasized its experience in governance, political leadership, and a solid track record of fulfilling promises, pledging a government that would commence work on day one, particularly addressing economic challenges.

PDP stated that they started their campaign where they left off during consultation meetings. “Every constituency is deemed a priority, reflecting the party’s commitment to reaching all corners of the country,” the party stated.

The party’s priority is to institute a Nu 15 billion stimulus package to revitalize the economy.

PDP expressed their commitment to a healthy and harmonious campaign, rejecting divisive politics. The party reported no instances of image destruction by other parties and stressed the importance of critical but respectful engagement in democratic debates.

While acknowledging the Election Commission of Bhutan’s (ECB) mandate to ensure healthy campaigns, PDP emphasized that the responsibility extends to all stakeholders to prevent unhealthy divisive politics.

Also making significant strides on its maiden voyage, Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) is fostering a positive atmosphere in the political atmosphere reverberating around the country with its unorthodox Sunomics philosophy.

The party President, Kinga Tshering initiated the campaign from the eastern region, kicking off its campaign from the eastern dzongkhag of Samdrup Jongkhar and progressing towards Gelephu.

President Kinga Tshering observed a commendable behavior among political parties, noting a lack of negativity during the ongoing campaign. The positive atmosphere has contributed to a constructive and respectful electoral process.

The ECB is actively monitoring campaign activities, deploying observers and election officials to ensure fair and transparent proceedings throughout the election season.

In the coming week, DTT plans to extend its campaign to Tsirang and Dagapela, subsequently covering the western regions of Thimphu and Paro. The strategic campaign approach reflects the party’s commitment to engaging voters across the country.

The President shared that there is considerable interest from the Bhutanese residing in Australia regarding the purchase of a hospital. This proposition is seen as compelling, especially considering budget constraints faced by the government.

The party’s outreach efforts aim to engage voters from all corners of the country, fostering an inclusive and informed democratic process.

The President of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT), Dasho Dr. Lotay Tshering, embarked on a campaign tour covering Samtse, Sarpang, Tsirang, and Dagana, where he passionately conveyed the party’s manifesto and urged the public to focus on counting blessings rather than disapprovals.

Dasho Dr. Lotay Tshering emphasized that during challenging times, DNT prioritized life-saving measures over immediate social problem resolution. DNT’s manifesto centers around life priorities, with a key focus on creating an educated society. The party aims to adapt to the changing times by prioritizing digital education and 21st-century ICT. An ambitious goal is set to ensure that each household possesses at least one computer.

Renowned for its efforts in tackling health issues, DNT pledges to work towards eradicating cervical cancer by 2030. The party continues to underscore its commitment to the well-being of the Bhutanese population.

Dasho Dr. Lotay Tshering expressed gratitude for the overwhelming and unconditional love and support the party is receiving from the public. However, he acknowledged the sacrifice made by individuals who attend numerous meetings, leaving behind their household chores.

As DNT continues its campaign, the party remains steadfast in promoting a positive perspective, urging citizens to appreciate the strides made in the face of challenges. The focus on critical areas such as education, health, and hydropower underscores DNT’s commitment to comprehensive national development.

Following the announcement made by ECB, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) President, Dorji Wangdi embarked on an extensive tour covering eight Dzongkhags, encompassing Punakha, Gasa, Wangduephodrang, Dagana, Chhukha, Tsirang, Sarpang, and Pemagatshel, with the President emphasizing the party’s preparedness to govern the country if elected.

Dorji Wangdi’s tour spans a diverse range of Dzongkhags, providing the party with the opportunity to connect with voters across various regions. The focus of the campaign is to convey the party’s readiness to take on the responsibilities of governance.

DPT utilized its social media platforms to unveil manifestos at both the national and rural levels. The party pledges to review the service delivery system, undertake the construction of three mega hydropower projects, and reassess the tourism policy. Additionally, DPT aims to engage in mines and minerals activities alongside road construction initiatives.

DPT’s manifesto places a strong emphasis on infrastructure development, particularly in the areas of hydropower, tourism, and mines and minerals. The party aims to contribute significantly to economic growth through strategic initiatives.

Meanwhile, as voters unruly try to out-speak each other over which party to vote for, political pundits are calling for a quiet primary round that would see three incumbent and two new political parties vying for a majority to contest for the general round of parliamentary elections which is slated for early next year.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu