The Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) commenced the election campaign for the general round of the Fourth Parliamentary National Assembly election on 12 December as per the notification of the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB). Having already announced the national pledges during the primary round, the two political parties are now focusing more on constituency pledges.
During the recent BTP President’s campaign in Thangrong, the party promised to maintain and improve the 28-kilometre farm road from Drepoong to Thangrong. The current state of the road is poor, lacking a complete road base. Voters expressed their concerns about the long travel time and distance from Yadi to Mongar town and the dzong, which takes almost two hours. They suggested that improving the farm road from Thangrong to Drepoong would reduce travel time to approximately one hour. The road’s narrowness and frequent blockages during the summer were also highlighted as major issues.
Additionally, the president committed to constructing a primary highway from Sherichhu to Kurigongri, which would benefit residents of seven gewogs in the Dremadetse-Ngatshang constituency. This highway aims to significantly shorten travel durations and eliminate the need for Thangrong residents to travel to Mongar town and Gyalpoising to reach Nganglam.
In Zhemgang, PDP’s President, Tshering Tobgay emphasized the party’s commitment to upgrading Panbang town. He specifically pledged to improve roads such as Trongsa to Gelephu, Tingtibi to Panbang, and Panbang to Nganglam.
Additionally, he pledged to ensure a reliable electricity supply in Panbang.
In North Thimphu constituency, PDP candidate, Tshering promised various improvements for Thimphu, including 24/7 clean drinking water, better road maintenance, more CCTVs, disabled-friendly footpaths, and solving vehicle parking issues. He also pledged to review high parking fees, rationalize property tax, increase life insurance for rural residents, provide better access to loans, and lower interest rates.
Conversely, the BTP’s candidate, Sonam Penjor, noted that most parties have similar pledges, such as providing life insurance, and installing street lights, and CCTVs.
As constituency pledges for Khatoed-Laya, Gasa, PDP’s candidate, Lhaba promised road connection from Gasa to Tagtsimakha to Lungo via Koina during the public debate. The candidate said that the party will maintain the road from Gasa to Laya and hand it over to the Public Works Department (PWD).
Lhaba pledged to the establishment of a petrol pump at Laya, complete the trail path from Laya to Lingzhi and develop tourist site at Wunakha.
BTP’s Ugyen Dem pledged to construct a road from Gasa to Laya besides blacktopping, including the installation of chain-link fencing and solar lights at herding places, aims to enhance connectivity and infrastructure, creating business opportunities and ensuring the well-being of highlanders by providing good quality tents in the gewog.
Other common pledges were to maintain hot springs, provide solar light, and promote business beside others.
In Lamgong-Wangcha, Sonam Tashi of PDP plans to establish a waste management system similar to Thimphu’s drop-off centers. Pledging infrastructure development, he focuses on road blacktopping, construction of roads and bridges, and provision of irrigation water. The PDP aims to improve farming accessibility with an 80 percent loan equity for utility vehicles, interest-free loans for agricultural machinery, and support for acquiring Jersey cows.
Similarly, Kunzang Dorji from BTP committed to upgrade roads, including blacktopping, and emphasized on youth empowerment through an Idea and Innovation Bank. The BTP envisions allocating a specific percentage of GDP for research and development in addition to improving existing farms and access roads.
Sangay Rabten from Thimphu