Bhutan’s 3rd Parliamentary Elections: One Down, One More To Go

So, the Primary round of our 3rd Parliamentary elections is behind us and we now look forward to the General round.

The result did not disappoint – it was unavoidable that Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) would emerge victorious.

I foresaw too that People’s Democratic Party (PDP) would not make it to the General round – not because they performed badly during their time in the government, or that their candidates were any less qualified than other party›s – but because it became clear to me that Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) was making serious inroads into the PDP’s traditional support base – Southern and Western  Dzongkhags (Districts). Had voting been delayed by few more weeks, PDP’s harvest of the votes would have been even lower – DNT’s weaning ways would have caused even greater loss for the party.

PDP made a fundamental mistake in believing that DPT was their nemesis. In doing so they failed to take notice of the joker in the pack – a willie and masterful upstart that knew exactly where to hurt and maim. DNT went about methodically weaning away voters from the PDP stronghold, in the Dzongkhags where they were sure they had a standing chance. This was strategic thinking on the part of DNT – they focused on first wining the battle to get to the war. They damn well knew that trying to poke a dent in the DPT stronghold (Eastern & Central Dzongkhags) would be futile and ill-timed, atleast at this juncture. Very smart!

My reading was that DPT would enter the General round. I was right – they emerged the winner of the Primary round – in terms of  total number of constituencies won (in terms of total number of votes, DNT is the winner – they got 2,702 more votes than DPT). Some believe that Sonam Kinga’s facebook post (since I am not in the facebook, I am not aware of the full context of the post) had the opposite of the intended effect, that it generated a lot of sympathy votes for the DPT. I totally disagree – his post was inconsequential. Ten negative posts from him would not have altered the result one bit – not even God.

There is only one factor behind DPT’s win – the Sharchop (Easterners) factor!

I use to jokingly tell my Sharchop friends that if I stood on a mound and chuck a stone into any gathering, it would unfailingly hit a Sharchop. I now look at the Sharchops through a different lens – to be jestful of their numerosity is to invite peril. Obeisance to the mighty Sharchops!

Before the start of the campaigns some told me that the people of the Eastern Dzongkhags have all vowed to vote for the DPT – regardless of who represented the party. Other than one solitary constituency – Lhuentse’s Gangzur-Menjey – every Sharchop constituency voted for the DPT – all 16 constituencies, out of a total of 17!

Don’t mess with the Sharchops – they can make or break you, atleast in the political arena. Scary!

I wish luck to both the winning parties – during the upcoming General round. But in truth, as so wisely said by the President of DNT Dr. Lotay Tshering during his interview to the BBS TV, too much sound and fury is unnecessary, to elect a gaggle of foot soldiers and drummers and trumpeters. As long as the country remains to be guided and steered in the right direction by our able Field Marshal and the General, their winning ways will continue to assure victory at every bend and every corner.

All that the Bhutanese people need remind themselves at all times is this: Winning or losing an election is not the end of the world. What is important to understand is that we are fortunate to have been given the right and the freedom to exercise a choice.

Should a larger number of people choose to defer with your choice, it is not an affront to you. This time around, their choice happens to find greater acceptance over yours. It is not in opposition to yours – it is different to yours. Being different is not wrong – being unaccepting of a differing view, is.

By Yeshey Dorji

The writer is a Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Thimphu. His is also a Paul Harris Fellow. Currently he serves as the Club Secretary for RY 2017-2018. By Profession, Yeshey is a photographer.


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