With the Primary round just a month away and the general elections just over two months away the biggest opponent for all the parties aspiring to replace the incumbent DPT is just not a muscular DPT but the parties themselves.
While it is true that a big challenge for DPT is the anti-incumbency factor there are still two common refrains from many ordinary citizens.
One is that though they are not exactly pleased with what DPT had done in the last five years, especially on the economy and corruption scams many of them are yet to see a strong alternative to vote for.
The other is some of them are frustrated with DPT but since there are no good alternatives they would rather prefer to not vote.
With their fate to be decided in just a couple of months it is beyond comprehension and understanding why most political parties are not doing enough to distinguish themselves or make their presence felt.
The biggest issue of these elections is the poor state of the economy with the ongoing rupee and credit crises. The private sector and the economy as a whole are suffering as a result.
The aspiring political parties are yet to meet with people suffering from this downturn, understand their problems, empathize with them and offer bold and new solutions.
Apart from the occasional and vague statements on the economy the political parties are yet to offer anything concrete that can capture the hearts and minds of the voters.
Far from offering alternatives most parties have steered clear of even criticizing the incumbent government on its performance. Dubious statements on the economy have been swallowed whole by many aspiring politicians without any research, with some parties even quoting the government.
The incumbent government had carried out a lot of questionable and unpopular policy decisions like Pedestrian Day, import bans etc but so far even well these known issues are yet to figure in party discussions.
A lot of corruption scams and irregularities have been exposed by the Media, Anti Corruption Commission, Royal Audit Authority and others, but most parties have again steered clear of holding the incumbent government responsible.
However, parties have generally avoided asking tough questions and also bringing about tough issues on a variety of issues like Gyelpozhing, Chang Ugyen case, Denchi, Trowa, Education City, Mines, City bus etc.
Most parties have also steered clear of other issues like the pressure put by the executive on various constitutional bodies and also its blatant interference in the media.
We are also yet to hear on which issues the parties disagree or have a different stand with the government and how they would do things in a better way.
Unfortunately most of the parties have hung back in the background leaving institutions like this paper to uphold public interest and also bear the consequences of doing it.
There is a strong and palpable sense of fear and also a clear lack of confidence among most of the parties in criticizing the policies of the incumbent government.
In the end if parties and their leaders and candidates are so afraid and have such a vacuum of ideas then they should stop wasting their own time and that of the citizens of the country and withdraw.
Given the current momentum of most parties there is very little to suggest that they are serious about taking on the incumbent ruling party and giving it a tough competition that is so important in any democracy.
Another issue is that of Party leadership. While the DPT has enjoyed a natural advantage being in the incumbent government and having a great orator in the Prime Minister most of the new party leaders are not doing themselves any favors.
Voters are yet to see and hear enough of them to convince themselves that they can provide any alternative leadership to the incumbent leadership. People have heard names and have seen some pictures but there is not enough information or exposure to convince voters that these party leaders can become potential Prime Ministers.
As of now it still largely looks like a bunch of unorganized, scared, undecided and clueless school level football teams attempting to take on a club level football team of the DPT.
Aspiring political parties have to get out of their inter-school debating mentality and bring their best game if they are here to do political battle so that one of them can offer new vision and hope to a country badly in need of both.
While this election is for any of the aspiring parties to win it is also entirely theirs to lose.
“A change is brought about because ordinary people do extraordinary things.”