Spontaneity is his companion and principle, his armor. So, said with conviction and steely resolve, Achyut Bandari, 59 who served 31 years in the civil service and now is powered to join the political race advocating the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) manifesto.
It is his concern as a senior citizen to join politics and at all times, ‘take democracy beyond the ballot boxes and instill values of national interest’.
Achyut Bandari said “I haven’t yet confirmed to contest as it will be influenced mainly by three factors, it is the decision of the party whether I can contest or not as for DNT party has the supreme verdict as it is made of collective decision, the other is people’s confidence in me and there is always family’s say-so” .
He remained quite reluctant for a while to join politics as the party he wanted to contest failed him back in 2008. He took the decision to contest with a pinch of salt and it was the Nyamrup spell that finally convinced him to join the party.
“Nyamrup is founded on the principles of equality, justice and solidarity, this is something I have vested my life upon and I also think this ideology is much suited to our Bhutanese scenario,” he said. He added that DNT had firm grounds on building the party through consultations and consensus, an important aspect of democracy.
Achyut Bandari expressed his priorities as ‘Bhutanese first and foremost’. He said this is a question of equality, justice and solidarity. Our priorities determine our values, and in turn, our actions.
“Working toward strengthening the party, making it viable and giving a better alternative is my first priority,” said Achyut Bandari.
Apart from democratic values and drives, he talked about the country’s economy as his most important priority. “I know there are no short-cuts yet Nyamrup will work together to find ways and means to conserve rupee, cut down costs where possible and we need to address mounting debt seriously for the good of posterity. We need to review and keep it in a manageable situation”.
Achyut unveiled some strategies of the party towards fighting the economic crisis of the country as it is the foremost priority of the seven-point contract of DNT which is also their manifesto.
“Changing the mindset of bureaucrats is essential. We need to empower the younger generation of the civil servants as today it is all about passing the buck and they also need to take risk,” said Achyut. He reiterated the lines of His Majesty that ‘Politicians come and go but the civil servants should always be strong’ and he believes in empowering the civil servants and strengthening it so as to contribute toward good-governance.
Achyut Bandari justified clearly that learning has no age as even at 57 he went to pursue his master’s degree in Social Change and Development, University of Newcastle, Australia. He did his graduation in Economics from an Australian University in 1975. His schooling was done in the 1960s from Jigmecholing, Gelephu and also Trashigang.
He returned home to join the foreign ministry from 1976 to 1992, serving for 16 years where he was among the first to negotiate on bilateral relations. Later he joined the Ministry of Economic Affairs from 1992 to 2004 where he was the Director and later, the last job, he served was as Managing Director of Bhutan Post from 2005 to 2007 making profits for the institution and enabling it to pay dividends to the customers.
He is married with a son and a daughter and he lives in Thimphu. If he contests, it will be from the Gelephu constituency, in Sarpang against Lyonpo Nandalal Rai.
Puran Gurung / Thimphu