In South Thimphu DNT president Lotay Tshering secured the highest number of votes at 2,816 votes while DPT’s Kinley Wangchuk stood second with 1,173 votes -a major difference of 1,643 votes.
The combination of PDP and BKP voters leads to 1,603 votes. The President is set for an easy win in his constituency previously held by DPT’s Yeshey Zimba for 10 years.
The President of DNT said that although the results can be very unpredictable, his support base looks very positive. He said that people from all walks of life has been coming forward to support him and DNT as a whole because of the party’s ideology and pledges, which he said is synonymous to a GNH manifesto. “I’m enjoying the process very much at the moment and I’ve been receiving positive responses while on my campaign trail after the primary round.”
Lotay Tshering said that the primary round results leave a lot of room for possibilities and with DNT having done very well, he said that he and his party has been working towards maintaining the support base while also making sure to get the PDP and BKP voters onboard to vote for DNT.
“My key strategy in getting the PDP and BKP voters onboard is by re-selling my manifestos and pledges which aligns with the philosophy of GNH. I tell the PDP and BKP supporters that it is now in their hands to elect a new government and not in the hands of DPT or DNT supporters.”
The president said while still working to maintain DNT’s initial support base, his campaigns around the country has been focused on three aspects; to convince the PDP and BKP supporters to vote for DNT, and to encourage those who didn’t participate in the electoral process to come and vote in the general round.
“I foresee no change in DNT’s support base, although we cannot rule out the possibility that perhaps one percent might switch from DNT to other parties influenced either by their family or friends. However, since the BKP and PDP voters now look forward for change, majority of the PDP voters should be in DNT’s favor considering the history between the two parties, which is similar for the BKP voters who’ve voted for the party mainly to witness change,” he said.
The President said that as far as DNT is concerned, DPT’s approach has been conventional with no out-of –the box- developments in their manifestos or pledges and that their approach doesn’t align with the core values of what a GNH nation should aspire for. “Almost 70 percent of DNT’s manifestos focus on health, education and well-being of the Bhutanese society. What can be a more futuristic and realistic pledge than investing in health and education?” argued the president on DPT’s accusation that DNT’s pledges are for the short-term.
He said that although DPT claims to have a socialistic approach, DPT’s manifestos, however, speak out the true intention, which is heading towards a capitalistic economy.
“They talk about privatization of mini-hydro projects, which in fact is an invitation for a capitalistic economy.
They just have to privatize few mini-hydro projects, and in few years it will lead to a huge gap between the have and haves not. Even their plan to double tourism is totally against our tourism policy of ‘high value and low impact’. We have to have a sustainable plan instead of going all out,” he added.
Arguing on the statement that quality of education might deteriorate by doing away with the cutoff point for class 10, DNT president said that it’s the quality of the education, working environment of teachers and all the support rendered to education sector by government which will mainly determine the quality of education.
“Plus two should be the basic higher education that our youths should receive, and it is basically illegal to have youths as young as 15 or 16 years old seeking jobs after not being qualified from class 10,” he said.
Lotay Tshering said that should DNT come to power, one of the immediate priority in Thimphu would be to give more autonomy to the Thrompon, in terms of both financial and autonomy to the position.
“The Thrompon, with the work that it entails definitely deserves a ministerial rank and DNT would like to make that possible. With increasing city sprawls, I also would like to look at the feasibility of raising the floor heights of the building as it should be possible with mechanics and advanced infrastructure materials. Others priority areas in Thimphu would be waste management and drinking water,” he added.
Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s Kinley Tshering said that he remains’ hopeful to win the general elections although the primary round results have made it more predictable. “However, there is a huge increase in our support base as compared to the primary round. We have also got some of the PDP supporters on our side so we cannot really predict.”
Kinley said that he doesn’t have any specific strategy to win the PDP and BKP voters. He, however, said that he has been seeking their support by mentioning the fact the DPT can incorporate PDP’s manifestos only if they get elected and adding that every party is here to serve the nation.
Kinley Wangchuk said that he can only hope that some of the PDP voters will vote for DPT.
He said his immediate attention should DPT come to power would be to improve roads, water and waste management issues in the capital. “In the rural Thimphu DPT will give priority to blacktopping and maintaining the road so that they’ll be able to market their goods with ease,” he said.
Kinley Wangchuk said that every pledge has been researched well. He however, added that it is important to have realistic pledges, whereby he is totally against freebies which, he thinks is against what Bhutan can afford for quite some time.
“Bhutan is not in a position right now to support freebies which the other party is pledging as we are yet to graduate from the Least Developed Country and many of the donors might back out if we’re more into freebies.”
DNT’s Dechen Wangmo secured second position with a total of 1,211 votes, while DPT’s North Thimphu candidate Lily Wangchuk secured third during the primary round after securing 1,134 votes.
The differences of votes between the two parties only comes to around 77 votes. The combination of PDP and BKP voters comes to 1,873 votes and who they vote for will be important.
Lily Wangchuk said that it is difficult to predict her chances of winning as she has been on a campaigning for only a week as of yet. “Although I do not have any specific strategy to win over the PDP and BKP supporters, I’m of view that PDP and BKP voters will be divided between DNT and DPT this election, I have been basically going around encouraging every voter to come and vote.”
Should DPT come to power, Lily Wangchuk’s immediate priority in Thimphu would be to address income gap, generation gap, social gaps, creating a safer Thimphu, support affordable daycare centers and Crèches, make it easier to get domestic maids, create employment, provide maternity leave for six months among others.
DNT’s north Thimphu candidate, Dechen Wangmo who was said that she seconds whatever the party president mentioned as they are from the same dzongkhag.