The incumbent National Council Chairman, Namgay Penjore said that he would “probably join the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT)” in an exclusive interview with The Bhutanese.
The NC Chairperson, who will be formally leaving his office on 28th April, has made it clear that he will be joining the National Assembly only after the end of his tenure.
He said, “I am from an apolitical institution and I cannot go to the people and talk of politics, but the supporters from my constituency have approached me, and since most of them happen to be in the DPT, I will probably join the DPT.”
This statement by the NC Chairperson brings to rest, the months of speculation among people and in the media, of the NC Chairperson joining DPT.
The Chairperson, however, clarified that he will make a formal announcement a day after he leaves office on 29th April, and as of now he would not formally commit to any party.
Referring to his entry into National Assembly politics he said, “I would like to remain within the system and give a choice to the people of Punakha.”
He also added that apart from DPT, two other political parties have approached him, but they were only exploratory moves from them.
The NC Chairperson showed political acumen from the very beginning when he managed to dislodge the consensus candidature of the eminent member, Dasho Karma Ura in 2008 to secure the NC Chairperson post.
The Thrizin said that in the last five years as Chairman of the National Council, he has learnt a lot. He said the major achievement would be in setting a lot of precedents in the process of putting in place a parliamentary system.
“One major achievement was the NC to be able to play a check and balance role on the National Assembly and the Executive. In other Parliaments, the ministers are present there so ministers from the lower house do not come for question and answer sessions. In Bhutan’s case, and with great difficulty, the NC could successfully get the ministers to come for the question and answer sessions,” said the Chairman.
Talking about his future transition, the NC Chairman said that in his tenure, the focus was mainly on legislation and on check and balance, but in the NA he would be focusing more on developmental activities, where he can promise such activities to his people. He said that he would also be more in touch with the people.
The NC Chairperson said that his NA constituency is the Kabji Talo constituency. The constituency was previously held by the former DPT MP Tshering Penjore before the NA was dissolved on 20th April 2013.
There are speculations in political camps that a major figure like the NC Thrizin joining DPT would either mean, a ministerial portfolio for him or even the NA Speaker’s post, if the current speaker is unable to take part in the general elections.
He said, “I would appreciate the speculation if they see some ability in me, but it is entirely left to the people of my constituency.”
The outgoing NC Chairperson also wished the winners of the NC elections from the 20 Dzongkhags and also the other candidates who could not make it. He said, “I would like to wish all the best to all the 20 MPs who have been elected, and also to the rest of the 47 for showing interest and giving choice to the people.”