Two new parties upbeat

BTP and DTT expound the reasons for people to support them

In less than two weeks, the people of Bhutan will determine which two, of the five political parties will go to the final and second round of the elections. While nothing is certain, another question on the minds of many people is the “political reception,” that the two new parties, the Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) and the Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) would receive from the people. In other words, why would people support the two new parties?

General Secretary (GS) of BTP, Thering Nidup says that after the discussion on the manifesto, and debates of the presidents and other candidates, the people of Bhutan have realized what the party has in store for the country. “Going beyond that, the people have also understood the different reasons why BTP was formed,” an official from the party said, underlining the concern about the deteriorating faith of the people in the political system and others. “Our President made it very clear during the familiarization tours about people’s loss of faith in democracy, the need to get rid of the ‘disease’ impacting service delivery, and the importance of empowering every individual if the country is to be emboldened,” he said, while highlighting that BTP has not deviated from the same in drafting its manifesto.

The GS further added that “concern for the country,” was what made its President, former Secretary of the National Land Commission (NLC) Dasho Pema Chewang, resign to form the party. “I do not want to spell out the qualities or the track record of Dasho. Similarly, there are many candidates who were holding important positions in the public service who resigned and joined the party as they also were concerned about the country,” he said.

“While nothing is ever certain, I believe that BTP will be given a good reception. The case is now in the people’s court,” he said.

Elaborating further, he mentioned that even other political parties agree that people’s faith in Bhutanese Democracy needs to be restored. “Many have said so in the debates. Similarly, all agree that service delivery has to be revamped and candidates from other parties have now begun to talk about it. If our opponents believe in us, I think that the people would definitely believe in us and so support us,” he maintained.

Concerning the need for experience, which some political parties have been talking about, the GS said that candidates of BTP, including the President have years of experience in the public service. “Our president served for 32 years in different capacities. He was in the Ministry of Finance, the then Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC), and also served directly under His Majesty before becoming the Secretary of the National Land Commission (NLC). What more experience is required,” he said, adding that while all political parties are talking about revamping the economy, BTP’s president is the only one with a Masters in Economics.

“You could look at our other candidates too. They come from different backgrounds and bring diverse expertise and can become excellent members of the parliament (MP). In fact, we can say that we have more experience; the experience of having watched successive governments make mistakes. We know where the holes need to be plugged,” the official added, reiterating that the wisdom of the people of Bhutan cannot be taken for granted. “We are optimistic that we will get a good reception.”

Meanwhile, President of Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) Kinga Tshering also said that the people of Bhutan will repose their faith in DTT and that they will be welcomed well.

“There are several reasons, but first and foremost there is a need for a solid philosophy. Though all political parties are focusing on the economy, there is the need for a concrete roadmap like ours, that will help you further craft policies and plans,” he said, referring to Sunomics.

According to the President, the Earth element represents the rural sectors of agro farming and the mining sector that is steeped in the “poverty paradox and Water element the cross-cutting sectors in rural and urban areas for drinking and irrigation as well as the major revenue earning hydropower sector. Fire element represents the manufacturing sector, where the raw materials from the earth element are being churned in the furnaces using hydro generated electricity. Air literally represents the pristine atmosphere and our spirituality sector that has a major revenue potential through air travel, tourism and GNH branding.

“But to move around we need the senses, eyes to see with and ears to hear and others. The five senses are represented by good governance, social harmony, environment, culture and cutting-edge technology and finance,” he said.

DTT’s President further added that unlike political parties in the past who pledged to develop apps, DTT has already done it. “Our app today has more than 3,000 members. It I not a pledge in the air, but something doable and we have done it,” he said.

DTT’s pledge to transform the Lhengye Densa to Zhabtog Densa is cited as another factor that strengthens the party and a vital factor for the people to place their faith in DTT. “Most political parties are going around saying that policy and services are getting delayed and that the bureaucracy has been crippled. But just like the economic plan, they do not have a solid plan, without which a problem cannot be solved,” Kinga Tshering said. “DTT already has a solid plan for it, one of which is converting the Lhengye Densa to Zhabtog Densa. All ministers, secretaries and important relevant agencies will function under one floor,” he said.

Nidup Lhamo & Deepak Tamang from Thimphu