DNT blasts both PDP and DPT for weakening democracy

In a strong statement the Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) has condemned both the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Opposition Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) party over the large pay hike and entitlements given to Politicians during the recent Parliament session.

The DNT statement said, “The issue per se is not about pay raise. Nyamrup’s deeper concern is that this has weakened our young democracy.”

It also alleged that both PDP and DPT had colluded together on the hike. “Nyamrup is surprised at the strange marriage of convenience between the ruling and the opposition parties – a political collusion – that led to the pay hike of the politicians,” said the statement.

The statement asked if politicians are giving the country a wrong precedent by being more self-serving than people serving in the hall of the Parliament.

DNT said that as a political party, though not in the Parliament, it is also feeling ashamed to face the people of Bhutan.

DNT’s statement said that as elected representatives, politicians have a sacred responsibility to work toward the greater interest of the nation, serve the people selflessly, and set good examples for fellow citizens to follow. “Above all, they must strengthen the foundation of democracy, gifted by Our Beloved Kings, through nonpartisan politics and sustained engagement of Bhutanese citizens at all levels,” it added.

The statement said that Bhutan is a young democracy, barely six years old and against this backdrop, Bhutan’s politicians have a huge responsibility to shape and model Bhutan’s democracy as envisioned by the enlightened Monarchs.

It says that since Bhutan is in the early stage of its democratic experiment, politicians have the opportunity to create an exemplary and unique democratic culture, worthy of emulation.

DNT said, “During the inaugural ceremony of the recent Parliament session, His Majesty clearly said that politicians must always put the national interest first.”

In a strong reproach DNT said, “However, it is very disheartening that our elected leaders have put their self-interest before the interest of the people of Bhutan. This, Nyamrup believes, is a severe breach of trust between the elected representatives and the electorate.”

Giving vent to popular public anger the DNT statement said that Bhutanese people from all walks of life are disillusioned with the way current politicians have raised their own salaries and vehicle allowances. “The existence of trust between elected leaders and the people is a hallmark of a good democracy. Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa is worried that politicians are losing people’s trust by serving themselves more than serving the people,” it added.

The release accused both parties for having set a wrong precedent. It said, “Political parties must at all times be inclusive. They cannot ignore the suffering of our poor and middle class people. Nyamrup has always believed in inclusive politics, prioritizing to uplift the poor and middle class people.”

The DNT also questioned the logic forward by some MPs is that the hike is intended to attract the best of the lot to join politics. “This we believe is a weak argument, is self defeating and counterproductive. Instead they have managed to paint a dark picture of the politician, losing the trust of the people, and even dissuading many from even thinking of joining politics,” said DNT.

“Democracy is about people’s trust. It’s about being true to the people. We must nurture our young democracy with a right precedent,” said the DNT release.

The recent DNT statement comes in the context of widespread public anger over the generous hikes and entitlements that politicians gave themselves especially in economically trying times. With the NC already deferring its hike and now the DNT picking up on it this issue is already expected to play a major factor in the 2018 elections.

The statement of the DNT is also being seen in the context of it trying to develop itself into a viable alternative to either of the two parties in Parliament.

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