People of Chapcha-Bongo were treated to more or less the same scene enacted repeatedly across the other constituencies in the nation by different party candidates, when the two candidates from the constituency sang to the tune of conventional debate format with contents from manifestos and pledges.
The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) candidate for the constituency is Ugyen Tshering is the former MP of the constituency, and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate is Dawa Gyeltshen who has a master’s degree in education from the United Kingdom.
The DPT candidate said there are three main agendas that his party follows, that being country, dzongkhag and gewog level development. As DPT’s motto is self-reliance with ‘Equity and Justice’ equal development opportunity will be provided to all the 205 gewogs and 20 dzongkhags.
“If DPT comes to power there will be increase in the salary of government servants, the party would appoint one deputy minister in the labor ministry (MoLHR) to solve youth unemployment issues and develop private sector, which will lead to economic development,” he said.
The party if awarded the mandate to form the government would give work experience to the youth so that they will be ready for jobs whenever vacancy is announced.
“It is solely for encouraging youth to get better job and solve unemployment problem,” said Ugyen Tshering.
The DPT candidate in his address highlighted the DPT vision to make Bhutan self reliant by 2020, while touching on 10,000 megawatt project that would generate enough electricity for the country.
Ugyen Tshering asked the people to vote for the candidate who is better and who will be helpful to people while presenting a scenario of the 2008 elections where politics divided people and community. Similarly, he referred to the primary elections where regional lines of sorts were drawn between the east and west of the country.
In his turn to present, the PDP candidate Dawa Gyeltshen said, “Youth unemployment and empowering local government is the main pledge of PDP.”
He explained to the audience the party ideology of ‘Wangtse Chhirpel’ to empower people for liberty, equality and prosperity by devolving power and authority from the centre to the people.
Reflecting on PDP manifesto pledges, the candidate said empowering local government is a keystone of the PDP pledges. He said the party pledges to increase the salaries of the local government officials as they are the main people who deal with public.
‘Private sector growth and development was identified to the crowd as one of PDP’s main pledges.
Regarding DNT’s seven candidates joining PDP, he said Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) rules have clearly mentioned that if the candidates resign from their respective parties they are allowed to join another party.
“If it is wrong then the ECB won’t allow them to join our party,” said Dawa Gyeltshen.
Continuing on his list of party pledges he promised smooth roads for all 205 gewogs and one power tiller each to every chiwogs, SMS banking, availability of kerosene and diesel, one thrompon each for every dzongkhags town, one excavator in each dzongkhags, three doctors and one specialist each in every hospital, two helicopters for emergency relief work, evasion of tax for small private companies, access to health and education to all the people and freedom to private sector development.
Offering justifications on the party’s helicopter pledges, he said PDP is talking about one engine Helicopter which will be enough for country like Bhutan, and it is most needed when there are urgent situations like natural disasters.
“Vote for the right candidate, it is your freedom, we have nothing to say on it,” he said as he concluded his speech.
Sangay Choda / Thimphu