As in every other public debate conducted for the general election, the candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) in Bardo-Trong constituency also debated on the contentious issues such as youth unemployment, corruption, economic crisis, Bhutan- India friendship, etc.
During the course of the debate, PDP’s Lekey Dorji said the former government has caused an economic crisis in Bhutan, whereas, DPT’s Gembo Tshering rebutted by saying such issues are being highlighted to disturb the minds of people.
The DPT candidate said around 30,000 vehicles worth Nu 5bn (approximately) was purchased by the people within the last five years. He added that around 2,500 building were constructed in the country, and there was an increase in revenue for each person, from Nu 75,000 to Nu 104,000. Gembo Tshering said 3,500 kilometers of road was constructed and 3,500 households were supplied with electricity. This, he said, was the achieved during the ruling government’s five-year term.
PDP’s Lekey Dorji stressed on the issue of Bhutan–India friendship, saying that relationship with Government of India (GOI) was good in the past and that helped in receiving the early budget release for the planned development – the Five Year Plan (FYP).
The PDP candidate said the 10th FYP is near completion, with just a few days left for the 11th FYP to begin, but still the GOI has not given its support and budget. This, he said, will drive Bhutan into further economic problems.
“DPT is proud of saying Bhutan has friendship with 54 countries compared to 23 countries in 2008. But, it is indeed, a concern because of all the countries, Indian government is most important,” said Lekey Dorji.
In response to the remarks by the PDP candidate, DPT’s Gembo Tshering said, “It is all untrue, and it is also reported in media. I feel that now that the elections are nearing, it is being done to disturb the people’s minds so as to sway the votes, and I also doubt why these issues are coming up now only.”
He said the DPT party president Jigmi Y Thinley, the former prime minister has visited India nine times during its five- year term to meet with GOI on development plan talks. “Looking at it, it shows a much stronger relations,” he said. He added that during the 9th FYP, GOI had provided Nu 18bn for the plan, and a budget of 34bn during 10th FYP with an additional 15bn for development works.