A tense debate among candidates in Mongar constituency bye-election

The two candidates from the Mongar constituency faced each other and discussed their pledges on a LIVE TV public discussion last Monday.

The candidate from Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, Karma Lhamo, pledged to build a mother and child hospital, and pave roads.

She also pledged to blacktop Kilikhar to Labtsa farm road that connects Kilikhar and Drepong gewog, upgrading Chali Lower Secondary School to boarding middle secondary school, construction of a school hostel building in Tsakaling, and a bridge over Kurichhu at Dorjilung which is not included in the 12th FYP

She further promised to speed up the construction of the Pongchula international airport and the Dorjilung hydropower project, in addition to completing the 12th FYP.

The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa candidate, Dorji Youden, stated that she did not want to make any new pledges because the current government has failed to meet its previous promises. She warned voters not to be swayed by unrealistic promises.

She cautioned that COVID-19 pandemic will outlast the government’s term, and that there was just no money to maintain the pledges.

She said that before making new promises, the government should look into the pledges which could not be fulfilled as promised. However, it has failed to deliver on promises such as the Sungjoen App, free Wifi, and a maternity payment for rural women.

“The government claims that it is due to fiscal constraints. Only two years remain, and the budget has already been allocated. The assurances made at the previous Chhoekhor-Tang bye-election in Bumthang were supposed to be fulfilled in three months. It’s now been more than eight months,” she said.

Karma Lhamo said that this time, it is not about choosing the government, but rather about choosing a candidate who can honor the demands of the voters.

She said that the duties, as well as the power, of the government and the opposition are distinct. There is no need for ruling party if they are the same.

“The ruling government wields more authority, and if it did not, there would be no need for a ruling party. Yes, the budget allocation has already been made, but it is the ruling party’s obligation to find the budget and allocate it where it is needed,” she said.

She claimed that her pledges are achievable because it was consulted with the government and relevant ministers. Other pledges, she claimed, had been postponed due to the pandemic and some pledges have been met, and others will be in the coming years.

Dorji Youden stated that when earlier candidates, including ministers from the constituency, failed to keep their promises, it is improbable that a basic MP would be able to do so.

She promised voters that electing her would encourage more young people to get involved in politics.

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