The PDP candidate Norbu Wangchuk says his words have been taken out of context
Three parties, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) and Druk Chirwang Tshogpa (DCT) have refuted the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s (DPT) allegations of forming a coalition.
The DPT, in a written complaint to the ECB, has alleged that the three parties have come together to form a coalition, which DPT’s letter stated was, a violation of the Constitution.
The evidence, presented by DPT in this regard to the ECB, was a secret audio recording of the PDP candidate from Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong Norbu Wangchuk’s meeting with some supporters.
The DPT has alleged that the candidate had said that there was no DCT and DNT, but they were all PDP.
In this regard the candidate Norbu Wangchuk said, “Some former DNT and DCT supporters had come to my meeting along with PDP supporters to support me. What I said at the meeting was that they are in a new party and family and for them there is no more DNT and DCT.”
He said that this is not a coalition and he was sure that after the primary round of elections, the supporters from various parties would chose to now support one of the two main parties.
He said, “I am the author of my speech and I know what I said, in what context I had said it, and what it is supposed to mean.”
He has instead accused the DPT of illegally recording his speech at a local level meeting meant for former DNT and DCT supporters wanting to support PDP, and taking his statements out of context and then blowing it up as a national issue.
The candidate said, “This is a despicable act and it is not only illegal but it also spoils politics. If DPT tshogpas go around secretly and illegally recording every PDP meeting then the participants will feel intimidated and not be able to express themselves. Such recordings can also be used by a party that comes to power against voters who have expressed adverse views against it.”
Norbu Wangchuk also said that he was not sure how such illegally spied material could be used as evidence.
He clarified that his speech was meant for a local level for supporters coming to support his party and did not imply a coalition of parties at the national level as alleged by DPT.
He said that as the author of his speech he knew what he was saying and that DPT had no right to his take his individual statement out of context as evidence of a coalition. He said that the DNT candidates had moved to PDP, after approval from ECB, and in keeping within the Electoral Laws and could not be called a coalition.
In the same complaint letter, DPT also alleged that its supporters were stunned by Norbu Wangchuk’s remark in the media that primary round results insinuate that DPT is a party from the east.
To this, Norbu Wangchuk said, “The notion that PDP is a western party and DPT is an eastern party is spreading fast in my constituency, and as a responsible candidate and citizen i said that PDP is not a party from the west. Few vested interests are flaring up such regional sentiments in my constituency, and have given the perception that the PDP President Tshering Tobgay is an Ngalong potential Prime Minister, and that people from the east would come under the west.”
He said that he has appealed to people to not look at parties being from the west and east, but as national parties. “I have cautioned people to not believe the untruthful rumors that PDP is a Ngalong party,” he said.
The DPT’s complaint letter has also alleged that Norbu Wangchuk has told people to not attend DPT meetings.
Clarifying such allegation, Norbu Wangchuk said, “I had been getting feedback from my supporters that DPT tshogpas were making it compulsory to attend DPT meetings by making use of the ex-PM’s name. Therefore, I needed to clarify that attending every meeting is your own choice and is not compulsory.”
The DPT’s complaint letter also alleged that PDP was distributing cards among its supporters with money to register as party members and promises of support.
Norbu Wangchuk said, “DPT had hired hundreds of tshogpas and in many places almost half the village is their tshogpas or members. We needed party workers and supporters so we invited people to join our party and while giving out our introduction cards we repeated our PDP manifesto pledges which is allowed. DPT on the other hand has been offering to look after the ‘kidu and welfare’ of their members.”
Meanwhile, the DNT spokesperson Dr Tandin Dorji said, “First of all my understanding is that the PDP candidate speech has been taken out of context. DPT, for some time, has been alleging that PDP ad DNT is a coalition and the evidence has been collected with this questionable intent and motive. As far as DNT is concerned, seven of our candidates had moved to PDP after the ECB had allowed it, and it does not in mean that there is a coalition.”
He also said that manner in which the evidence was collected must be questioned as ECB allowed only media professional to record the meetings.
DCT President Lily Wangchhuk also clarified saying that DCT was not supporting any party or being influenced by them. “DCT has not engaged in any discussions or agreements with either DPT or PDP,” said Lily Wangchhuk.
She also stressed that a proof of the party’s neutrality was that it has release two of its candidates to replace both PDP and DPT candidates.
The PDP Vice President Damcho Dorji said, “First if all, neither the Constitution nor the Election Act talks about coalition so I don’t know on what basis DPT is talking of a coalition. All there is, after the two parties are in Parliament, MPs from either parties cannot join each other. There is, therefore, no way there can be a coalition government as DNT candidates joining PDP is allowed by the ECB Act.”
He said the Election Act has been passed by a DPT majority the DPT President had said that it was done hurriedly. “This shows that they do not even respect the very law they enacted. How about monk Sonam Tshering who not knowing the law was sentenced for three years?”
Meanwhile , the Chief Election Commissioner Dasho Kunzang Wangdi said, “The issue is with the dzongkhag dispute resolution committee and they are looking into it.” He refuted reports that the complaint has reached Thimphu, and he said that the issue needs to first get resolved at the dzongkhag level.
Tenzing Lamsang/ Thimphu