The Nation First

It was neither the Epsom Derby nor the Melbourne Cup. But the horse galloped at the speed of lightning leaving the other four contestants behind. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won 133,217 votes which was 42.53% of the total votes in the Primary Round of the Fourth National Assembly Elections, 2023-2024, held on 30th November, 2023. The first political party of the Kingdom has reached the general round of the elections for the second time.

Following its heels was the Elephant, which moved at its own pace – Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) secured 61,331 votes, 19.58% of the total votes cast. Thus, the general election, the final battle of the war, will be fought between the nation’s first and the latest political parties. BTP is not even a year old, while PDP is more than 15.

Would this matter? The primary round says no, for if it did, BTP would have faced the same fate as Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT), which is a little older than BTP. “Your Vision, Your Hope” has been instantly embraced by 61,331 citizens of Bhutan. BTP achieved in months what took parties like the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) years.

Thus, just as people are still to rise from the shock of the Horse’s speed, the Elephant’s grand entry into the general round is equally a shudder. Coming straight to the point, nothing can be said about the finals. It is anyone’s game.

It appears that PDP did not forget its defeat in 2018, where it won at the EVM but lost because of the postal ballots (PBs). Attention seems to have been paid to those who can avail PB facility. It also worked hard at the grounds; the EVM results are equally a surprise. PDP has not only entered, but captured what was once considered the impregnable domains of the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), except the two constituencies in the “Lotus of Happiness” – Pemagatshel.

BTP, on the other hand may have neglected the PB voters, while focusing on the grounds. But it is still not late. The party has a month to catch up with the civil servants and others, who avail the PB facility. And if they can convince this group and perform the magic that they have managed to do so at the grounds, the general round may see the Horse chasing the Elephant. They need to tell this group that they are also their “Voice and Hope.”

The next month will be interesting. We will witness both the parties sending bouquets to the three parties who are out of the Primary Round, but would play a vital role in who forms the government. We are also set in for more complaints and fines. There probably may be Horse-trading. If there is a platform where anything can happen, it is in the political arena.

However, all players; those in the field, on the benches and the spectators should keep the nations’ interest at heart. The best should triumph! Bhutan should win.