Led by the Party President, Neten Zangmo, Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) commenced its campaign for the Primary Round of the National Assembly Election from the Memorial Chorten, Thimphu on 23 August. The party offered prayers at the Memorial Chorten , expressing a deep sense of gratitude to the Third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, the Founder of Modern Bhutan.
BKP President, Vice President and the candidates visited Dechhenphug Lhakhang and Palden Lhamoi Goenkhang at Tashichho Dzong to receive blessings before launching the campaign.
According to the notification issued by the Election Commission on 18 August, a political party may proceed with the election campaign upon the receipt of acceptance of the Letter of Intent from ECB in the Primary Round and the campaign for the Primary Round shall be party-based, focusing on the Party Ideology, Manifesto, Vision and Mission.
BKP Vice President Sonam Tobgay said, “Providing equal opportunity, good governance which is also one of the pillars of Gross National Happiness, and making Bhutan a caring and self -reliant country are the main agenda of the party.”
He said BKP’s top priorities are 100 percent irrigation across the country because 69 per cent of the people are dependent on agrarian economy and providing affordable housing for all including civil servants, corporates and the private citizens which also includes shelter for the homeless.
He said, “In addition to this, some of our flagship pledges are putting an end to nepotism, 100 percent pothole free roads, and home ownership for all, embracing youth in nation building, private sector as equal partners, education and holistic and effective health care.”
BKP’s President, while talking about manifesto, said, “Our overriding statement is a self-reliant Bhutan. Over 57 years of socio economic development and Bhutan is still dependent on others. Bhutan should reduce its dependence on foreign donors, but that doesn’t mean ending the relationship with foreign countries. We can still have friendly relation because friendship is not only about sharing money, it is about sharing ideas and innovations.”
She said, “People say politicians cannot be trusted and politicians are all for themselves, but I feel that we need to change this perception of people. People need to trust their politicians and politicians also need to earn the trust of the public, and I think our politicians are not bad.”
She said, “In a fear stricken society, whether it is self- afflicted fear or whether it is by design, in an environment of fear, how you can have a vibrant democracy when democracy is all about being fearless, trusting your politicians, trusting the system and the government?”
She also said, “Politician can talk about manifesto and pledges, but if this democratic culture is not there, if the people’s trust is not there, I think democracy will not work and I think this is a serious issue and we need to address this.”
“The Election Commission has approved the party’s manifesto and shall be launched soon,” the party’s Vice President said.
He said, “The party representatives will start campaigning and most of our candidates are in their constituencies.” The Party President, Neten Zangmo, will resume her tour to the dzongkhags after her public debate on 26 August.
Political parties started their campaign for the primary round on August 22 and will end by September 13.
The party was yet to launch its manifesto as of Friday evening when this paper went to print.