Other than campaigning for the Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) in eastern Bhutan on 20 May, the DCT president Lily Wangchhuk’s visit has also served another purpose.
Earlier, most of the voters in the east, upon hearing her name, had either mistook her for a male president or perceived her to be a foreigner who had acquired a Bhutanese citizenship.
The DCT president not only met with the people of Pemagatshel and Samdrup Jongkhar in person, but also clarified the people’s doubts on her name and identity.
In the last couple of weeks, the DCT president held meetings with the party workers, supporters and voters. The meetings were informed of the party’s manifesto, promises and how they would serve the people if given the chance to govern. She also pointed out to the people in the east that the DCT members are predominantly youth, which she said was the party’s strength.
“More than anyone else, youth best understand their problem,” said Lily Wangchhuk during one of the meetings in Pemagatshel.
“Youth is one of our biggest concerns. If we don’t address problems they have, it’ll cost us huge in the near future,” said Lily Wangchhuk. She said it is not uncommon to see hundreds of youth languishing in the towns, especially in Thimphu.
The DCT president made it clear to the people that DCT’s other strength is the number of its women candidates in the party. She said that just as youth can better understand the problems of the youth, the same applies to women who can best prescribe solutions to women’s problems.
“Half of Bhutanese population is women and there is numerous problems women face,” the DCT president said. She also assured that DCT would look into each of the women’s problem and address them.
In addition, DCT’s president promised to look into the human-wildlife conflict that has plagued almost all the farmers in the country, especially for those in the eastern region. She explained that regardless of rain or shine, the farmers toiled hard on their land, only to lose their crops to the wildlife, and such an issue is discouraging and deems a serious look by the government.
The DCT president also said she was disheartened to find that many of the eastern dzongkhags are the least developed dzongkhags in the country. She said it is sad to meet with the families living in dilapidated structures with barely enough to eat. Hence, she said that more than power-tillers and helicopters, it is the problems faced by people like, drinking water shortage, poverty, no food security, and human-wildlife conflict that needs to be addressed.
While in Pemagatshel, Lily Wangchhuk spoke about reviewing and revising the mining policy. This, she said, is to ensure that the benefits of mining are equitably distributed among the people. “Pemagatshel has rich natural resources, especially the mines and minerals,” said DCT president to the gathering. She added such a revision and revisit of mines and mineral policy will also ensure that the benefits are not enjoyed by the few rich ones.
An elderly citizen and probably the oldest village member asked the DCT president if other parties could garner more funds from foreign countries for developmental activities, as the DPT president had told them it may not be possible.
Responding to the question, Lily Wangchhuk said, for her, the first thing that strikes when discussing about funds is the debt which DPT government had piled up, and needs to be cleared soon. “As important as bringing in funds, it is important the debt is serviced, before it puts our economy in shambles,” she added.
More queries followed, and the DCT president patiently responded to each one of them. Lily Wangchhuk also took the moment to relate some personal stories and her battle with cancer with the people in the gatherings.
Further, she also shared that she has no-one to look after as family. “You, the people of Bhutan, are the only ones whom I’ll dedicate myself, wholeheartedly to, and serve at my best,” she pledged.
Finally, for those who were confused with her name, she clarified that her name which was given by her brother means a lotus, and Wangchhuk is her father’s name. She also explained her ancestry, and that her great grandfather who was a Lam at Yongla Goenpa in Pemagatshel.
The party completed their tour of eastern region and left Samdrup Jongkhar yesterday.