“Whichever party comes to power, we should never, or in any way, threaten our national security and sovereignty, and this concern should be at the top of everybody’s mind,” said the Druk Phuensum Tshogpas (DPT) President, Pema Gyamtsho.
He said the DPT’s key concern would be strengthening peace, unity and harmony.
Having served as a ruling party and later as the Opposition, Pema Gyamtsho said that DPT is a tested party. “People have seen us in both the forms as a ruling and as an opposition party, so people should trust us that we offer the most credible choice for the people.”
The party, however, considers to have made a few mistakes when functioning as the ruling government. “We are bound to make mistakes, as being a new establishment, but the important thing is to learn from our mistakes.” Adding further, “The biggest difference is that we think for a very long term, sustainable approach and our goal is to achieve self-reliance as early as possible.”
He said that the party’s ideology and principle shall remain the same, no matter what. “We have to pursue growth with equity and justice and these are the two important aspirations of the party.” The party is hopeful for a win, and is confident to garner the support from the people.
On candidates, he said that party has a good mix of candidates, in terms of age, experience and professional background. The party has four candidates below the age of thirty, 10 candidates above the age of fifty and 25 between forty and fifty years of age. “We have a maximum number of candidates who have served as a Member of Parliament, either during the first or second term of government or during both.”
Party’s primary focus
“If we do get the mandate, first of all, we would be able to put back the economy on track,” said the Party President. “We would reset our target of achieving economic self-reliance by the year 2020 for it was delayed and forgotten in between, now we need to set the new target of achieving economic self-reliance by the year 2025.”
DPT’s key focus will be to fast track the implementation of as many hydropower projects as possible. “We don’t have many other options, in terms of opportunities, for earning a sizeable amount,” said Pema Gyamtsho, and further said, “We have to start as soon as possible. But we are also conscious of the fact that we have to reassess some of the hydro powers.”
Vice President of DPT, Dorji Wangdi, said that putting the dateline back on economic self-reliance is the most important pledge of the party, considering the lists of current challenges which can be solved with the growth in the economy. “Everything revolves it, and in doing that, we try to solve the long list of current problems such as, unemployment, trade deficit, gap between rich and poor and many more.”
In terms of tourism, Dorji Wangdi said the party would revamp the whole industry keep the same principle of higher value, lower impact tourism policy. “Within that, we would like to look at some of the constraints and bottle necks hindering the growth of tourism, and hugely invest in infrastructure development to support the tourism.”
“We would also look at the rural agricultural enterprises, in not just enhancing the efficiency of agriculture farming but also support agro processing small scale industries, which are rural based including forestry and livestock.”
“We would put the private sector in front line, in terms of economic development and give the private sector their due recognition and importance by creating an enabling environment and make it into engine of growth,” the Party President said adding that the private sector has not received such an attention so far.
“So the first thing will do is create a multispectral and party think tank group to draw the roadmap for putting Bhutan’s economy back on track.”
Party pledge on job creation: DPT pledges to create 120,000 quality jobs in 5 years. “Our goal on employment, hydropower, roads and four industrial estates would be revamped,” said the party’s Vice President.
“We would specifically target job creating businesses and import substituting business where we have comparative advantages like, tourism, hotels and education ITC, financial services, and also promote Bhutan as a destination for convention center.”
The growth in IT and IT enabled services is also being looked at by the party. “We will have few more IT parks and attract foreign direct investments.”
The party plans to establish around four dzongkhag thromdes. “We will take this on the basis of viability and phase wise.”
In terms of rural development, the party would focus on going back to 7 minimum programs based on principle of equity and justice. “We would assure road for all, electricity for all, water for all, road for all and enhanced telecommunication, health, education and food security.”
In addition to the seven common minimum programs, the party assures housing for all, employment for all, water for all, and an easy access to credit.
“We will also resume the southern east west highway which was stopped by the last government and also continue northern east west highway which is not even completed 30 percent.”
View on role of social media during election
The Party president highlighted his concern on the trend of fake news and its impact. “In present situation, mainstream media is failing while social media is gaining its popularity,” he said.
“The kind of engagement in social media we have is not really healthy as it is used for defaming other party and individuals,” DPT President further added, “It time for the mainstream media to tie their boots and fight against fake news.”
He said concerned agencies should really step in since more than affecting the election flow, the social media is creating division and disharmony among people. It is not good for the overall state of the country,” he said adding that stringent regulation needs to be in place to curtail the proliferation of the practice.
“Countering fake news from fake accounts is not the solution, this will only aggravate situations, and the concerned agencies should really step in with mechanisms and regulations to curb such practices,” said the President.
DPT starts its campaign from Paro
Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) started with its campaign from Wangcha gewog and Naja gewog in Paro on Thursday. The campaign was launched by the Party President, Pema Gyamtsho, and was attended by around 400 people from Paro.
The campaign was launched without the party manifesto, however, DPT emphasized on achieving economic self-reliance by 2025 and development of hydropower projects.
The campaign continued the following day in Haa among party supporters in Haa town followed by a campaign in Bji-Kartso-Uesu, where the party met the representatives of the business community of Haa and the people of Samar gewog.
The four political parties have 21 days to campaign and explain their respective manifesto to the people, before the campaign period closes at 9am of September 13.
The first Presidential Debate will be based on the political party’s ideology while the second debate will be based on the manifesto.
After the campaign in Haa, the DPT President will head to Thimphu on 25 August for the Presidential Debate.