Candidates bring up pledges and social distancing in debate

Two Chhoekhor-Tang candidates, 42-year-old Dawa and 35-year-old Tenzin Norbu faced each other for a live debate on 29 October where they shared their commitments.  

Dawa said, “I see my participation in the by-election as a rare opportunity where we don’t have to worry about who becomes the ruling and the opposition, but to present myself as a candidate who can work with the government to fulfill our collective aspirations,” he added.

He said if he cannot fulfill his commitments, he will not be able to hold his head high, or have the face to return to contest in 2023.

He said the Wobthang Organic Wonders (WOW) in Bumthang is a symbol of unity, where the two heads of the ruling and opposition parties have put together their ideas and resources, adding that the former OL, given his expertise in the field, developed the concept and proposal for the large scale farming project in Tang.

He said ensuring the project saw fruition the prime minister explored ways to fund the project being an exemplary way to show they are one people under the leadership of His Majesty and in the interest of the nation, they look beyond the political party.

In response to his opponent who questioned his pledge to black-top farm roads he said that for Chhoekhor-Tang, he has pledged to blacktop three farm roads. It was in keeping with their development stage that a guideline prevailed where they could not blacktop farm roads.

However, “Now times have changed whereby we have to evolve. This is why the infrastructure like farm road should progress to black topped road and it is the responsibility of the government to mobilize resources,” he said.

He said that the government has stressed much on reprioritization based on situations posed by COVID-19 but it does not mean the government has no budget.

During the time of COVID-19 situation, he said that people have focused on farming as import of goods was put at halt due to the closure of the border. “In Bumthang people have been focusing on promoting farming. Government has issued electric fencing and greenhouse facilities as support for the people,” he added.

Meanwhile, 35-year-old Tenzin Norbu said that the former OL has done a lot to benefit his people but everything does not end after his resignation, adding that he would continue doing it in his place.

“Bumthaps are mostly dependent on tourism and I have experience in this sector. So, I think I can do better and I am looking forward to serving my people and country at my best,” he added.

He said that only 3 years are left until the next election and the 12 FYP has been already approved and all the budget allocation has been done. The 12 FYP plan has been impacted by COVID-19 in the country for which, apart from worrying on meeting the target on time, he does not see the need of making pledges at this juncture.

He said that though the pledges are made to win the election but the fact is that it will remain unfulfilled, is for sure. “Today, the most important thing is to push the things which are underway to make it happen on time. And given the opportunity, I promise to do it without fail,” he said.

He said that he would review the pledges which are being included in the 12 FYP and do his best in collaboration with relevant stakeholders, to benefit the people at large. He said all his pledges are doable.

He emphasized on the unemployment issue in the country whereby the COVID-19 situation has further worsened it taking unemployment to 30,000 in the country. 

He said that everything was going well as per the COVID-19 protocol in his Dzongkhag. However, with Lyonchhen’s visit during the campaigning, more than 100 people have gathered which has led to a violation of the protocol. 

He said, “During such time it is not necessary that we gather. People know what our pledges are and which are doable while which are not.”

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