The public debate for the Lamgong-Wangchang constituency in Paro was a regular affair, as far as public debates go. Except for a few suggestive terms that tugged at respective party’s shortfalls, the rest of the evening was routine familiarization of manifestos, ideologies, and pledges.
The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) candidate for the constituency is the former Economic Affairs minister Khandu Wangchuk, with the service record of having served as a minister four times in different ministries, and two times in the post of prime minister before becoming a DPT candidate in 2008.
He started off the first hour of the debate with brief introduction and followed by explanation on the DPT manifestos, pledges, and party ideology.
DPT candidate Khandu Wangchuk said that DPT had made many pledges and promises in 2008, and completed many of it though it was difficult. He said the party had succeeded in bringing many developmental works in 205 gewogs, and has maintained good relationships with other countries and received financial aid from other countries.
“Most important thing that we should look at is maintaining peace amongst the people and we have maintained it,” he said adding that past five years has been a good starting point.
He said if DPT gets a chance to govern for another five years, they will focus on the economic development, Rupee crises and will make the country self-reliant by 2020. He also added that they will focus on solving the problems of unemployment and also promised on increment in salary of the government servants.
The DPT candidate said that there are many things that need to be done in his own demkhong. He said that if he gets re-elected then he will improve the drinking water supply, irrigation water supplies, and farm roads.
The list of pledges also include supplying machinery items for farmers, black topping of the farm roads, and building walls at the side of river to prevent flood and landslides. Besides that, Khandu Wangchuk said he will look after the developmental works on their demkhong town and mini towns.
The DPT candidate Khandu Wangchuk clarified the doubts on Indo-Bhutan friendship issues that have been recently printed in one of the newspapers in India (Times of India). He said that there is nothing to worry about on the issue of the country’s friendship with India. He said it is as good as before, in fact, it had improved a lot.
He said if we look at the five-year plan budget for 9th Five Year Plan (FYP) and the 10th FYP, there was drastic increment in budget for 10th FYP and they (India) will also help for the 11th FYP.
The PDP candidate Ugyen Tshering started off by thanking his supporters. He talked about his party manifesto. Like his counterpart, he too, promised the people of Lamgong/Wangchang demkhong on supplying good drinking water, irrigation water, utility vehicle, farm road, and many others. He said PDP had not promised those things that cannot be fulfilled, as all its pledges and promises are simple and can be fulfilled.
Ugyen Tshering also promised that PDP, if they come to power, will not tolerate corruption and partiality. He also said that they will focus on strengthening the Indo- Bhutan friendship as it is the gift handed down by our forefathers.
In question and answer hour, Ugyen Tshering justified PDP’s stand on taking in the seven Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) candidates. PDP candidate Ugyen Tshering said that they did not break the rule of Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) nor did the party forcefully uprooted the seven former PDP members. He said that DNT members volunteered to join PDP, abided by ECB rules and the old PDP members have vacated the space for the seven members with understanding and they still support the party.
The public debate for Lamgo/Wangchang demkhong ended with various clarifications on demkhong people’s doubt the candidates.
The public debate took place in Wangchang Gewog Yargay Tshogdu hall on Thursday, June 27.
Damchoe / Thimphu