While three of the members plan to explore the industrial sector, others have plans to start businesses, a school, go on further studies, and to work with the party as senior leaders and advisors
One of the unique features of the 2013 elections is that despite the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) replacing 11 of its MPs, none of them have joined other parties, even upon receiving credible offers from the other three political parties.
This comes as a remarkable show of party loyalty from the ex-MPs, especially at a time, when all other parties were scrambling to get strong candidates.
According to politicians from other political parties, some of the former DPT MPs are both well known and have a strong support base in their constituencies, which might have helped the other parties if they had switched over to their parties.
In interviews with the various ex- DPT MPs, this paper has found that despite being replaced, they are absolutely loyal to their party.
The former MPs are now opting to establish business in the manufacturing industry, opening a school, going on further studies, and political work among others.
A surprise replacement of MPs within DPT was that of Sonam Penjor from Kengkhar-Weringla constituency in Mongar who was understood to be a well known and an active MP in the Parliament, with a strong support base in his constituency. He admitted that as soon as news of him not contesting for 2013 became public, he was approached by various parties, but declined them all. The MP has other plans and that is to start a business in the industrial sector.
“I was planning on two manufacturing projects. One of them was the ferro-silicon business along with some FDI investment, but there are some problems like shortage of electricity, so I may have to go in for the other business venture,” said the former MP. The MP said that he would reveal the other project only after the elections are over.
The former MP was replaced by Rinzin Gyamtsho from the Prime Minister’s Office.
Nar Bahadhur who was replaced from Patalay-Tsirangtoe constituency in Tsirang is planning on establishing a water plant in Sarpang.
“My wife is not well and so I am helping her with her treatment. I have resigned, and I am planning to establish a business to earn some income. I will be establishing a water plant,” former MP Nar Bahadhur said. He also added that he has no plans to join any other party.
He has been replaced by Uday Chandar Bhandari, a mechanical engineer who has worked in the private sector.
The former Gelephu MP Prem Kumar Gurung has plans to establish an animal feeds manufacturing unit near his home. He said that after it was known that he would not be contesting in the elections, he was approached by a party to register as a candidate, which he chose to decline.
He said, “I have doubts whether a person can join a party after the primary rounds when the person is yet to be registered.” He said that when some other candidate had been selected over him as he had not been in station on health grounds, but he is now slightly better. He said that he would wait and see the primary elections results on May 31. Prem Kumar was replaced by the former NC MP Karma Donnen Wangdi.
Tshering Penjore from Kabji-Talo constituency in Punakha said, “I want to go for further studies to gain more knowledge, and I may come as a DPT candidate in 2018.” He, however, said that if the current candidate who has replaced him, Namgay Penjore (former NC Thrizin) does well, then he would continue to support his candidature even in 2018.
The former MP said there had been some misconceptions that he had been replaced, but in fact, it was him that invited Namgay Penjore to stand from the constituency. He also dismissed rumors of him getting a senior management job in a prominent manufacturing company.
The former MP said that he has no plans of joining any other party, and would remain faithful to DPT.
Tshering Dorji who had been replaced from Bardo- Trong in Zhemgang by Gyambo Tshering said that he would remain with DPT as a senior party member. He said, “The department of education told me to open a school in Gelephu, so I am taking the opportunity and have opened a school in Gelephu from the primary to class 12. Right now, the school is a temporary structure and I am looking for some private or FDI partner to invest so that I can build a bigger structure.”
He said that given his inclination to do social works, he had earlier opened a private school in Zhemgang, but it did not work out due to the less number of students in the area.
He said that he hopes to find the students to attend his new school since it is located near the Gelephu town.
The former MP said that he would not be joining any other political party and would remain with DPT.
One of the most contentious replacements was that of the former MP of Lingmukha-Toewang constituency Namgay Wangchuk in Punakha whose supporters even turned up in Thimphu in large numbers at a DPT meeting, unhappy with DPT’s decision to replace him with Dr Sonam Wangyal Wang.
Namgay Wangchuk said, “As of now I am out of politics, but I am always with the DPT party, out of respect for the people of my constituency.” He said that he is of a young age, and will most probably venture on a business of his own.
He said, “The party told me that at first we should be together, and if possible, they would look after me afterwards. As such there are no concrete promises, and I feel politics is a game of power and anything can happen in politics.”
He also clarified that his supporters had come to the DPT meeting on their own accord, and he had not called them or met with them. The former MP acknowledged he has the strong support of the people in his constituency and that he will remain with the DPT, and will not join any other party.
Another surprise replacement was Bji-Katsho constituency former MP Ugyen Tenzin from Haa. The former MP said that after it was learnt that he would not be a candidate, he had been approached by a couple of parties to join them, but he has refused to join them and will remain with DPT for ‘personal reasons’.
He said that it was a misconception that he has not contested in the elections due to an archery accident, but instead he says he is healthy and fit. He said that his service would be for the nation and the people. He also said that he had not been called for any of his party’s meeting so far because he was frank and did not hesitate to speak his mind. The former MP did not rule out a future foray into politics depending on the future developments.
The former MP has been replaced by Dasho Dr Gado Tshering.
Former MP of Pugli-Samtse Prahlad Gurung said, “I am almost an invalid and cannot see or hear properly and am confined to the bed. I have received necessary government support like gratuity, etc.” He also confirmed that given his health condition, he will not be joining any other party.
He is replaced by Rebecca Gurung who was working as an architect.
The former DPT candidate who lost to Damchoe Dorji in 2008, Sangay Thinley is now the vice president, youth wing of the DPT part, and is replaced by Dorji Khandu from Gasa.
Tshewang Rinzin who lost to the former Opposition Leader has been replaced Dago Tsheringla, an educationist.
The former home minister lyonpo Minjur Dorji has been replaced by Thinley Palden Dorji, a businessman and the former vice president of BCCI.
The former National Assembly speaker has been replaced by his son Jigme Tshultim, a qualified lawyer and also a former magazine owner.
The former home minister and NA speaker have both been appointed as party advisors.
Former Foreign Minister Ugyen Tshering who was the first minister to introduce computers to Bhutan has been replaced by former DHI Infar CEO Kinga Tshering due to health reasons.
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s Dr Tandin Dorji said, “One of our members had approached a former DPT MP when the MP had indicated that he would not be contesting. Later on the MP refused to join saying that he is getting the necessary support from his party.”
People’s Democratic Party president Tshering Tobgay said that one of his party members had approached former DPT MP Sonam Penjore as he had been one of the more active MPs in Parliament, but the former MP had declined as he had other plans.
A member from a new party also said that a former DPT MP had been approached, but had refused to join the party.
Tenzing Lamsang / Thimphu