Irrespective of the earlier name-callings and judgmental exchanges, seven DNT candidates including its President and Vice-President joined PDP
All this talk of morality of a party (Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa) that will let candidates hop to an inviting party, in contrast to that of one party, who will most definitely not let its candidates hop around and at the same time not stand to promote the whole ‘hopping phenomenon’ (Druk Phuensum Tshogpa) – it is a most carefully played and enacted course of action for all sides (the People’s Democratic Party being the third side who accepted the hopping candidates).
The parties need to play the statistics intelligently to turn around campaigning vehicles for positive outcomes, point them to the right avenues with the right persons behind the steering wheels (the replaced candidates who will supposedly alter the disappointing vote counts witnessed in constituencies during the Primaries).
In turn and very visibly, all roads in this game of strategy lead to ‘candidate-swapping’ – the general and core idea at play in the nation’s political sphere, which very freshly witnessed the pros and cons of individual candidate’s and a party’s support-pool, the importance of party leaders who need do more than just promote the righteous path and go seek the raw essence of the playing field, and up their charismatic-quotients to make a difference in the crucial end game (the results of the general elections).
And that is how parties, that of the two contesting in the general elections – DPT and PDP, are currently subjects of the very fierce battle of ethics.
The recent developments on this front witnessed the open-fire exchanges of very big words like ‘lying to the nation,’ ‘constitutional violations,’ and ‘morally-wrong actions’ (hinted directly at the act of candidates changing parties from DNT to PDP).
Most noticeably, the exchange took place between the DPT and DNT, not PDP.
The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) owing to its chief characteristics of being the post-primary potential pool of candidates, who could replace weak links in either of the two general round-contesting parties; it figures that the party is placed at the center of things and at odds with the DPT.
The DPT who made bold statements earlier in media that candidates switching or ‘hopping’ to another party after primaries to join winning parties is not becoming of political bodies who, in the first place stood for such noble agendas like, upholding the nation’s Constitution, promoting democratic values, etc.
The former Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley and works and human settlement minister Yeshey Zimba have repeatedly spoken about how such party-hopping candidates could be detrimental for a young democracy that seeks to promote ‘a vibrant democratic culture’, how seemingly the trust of people could fade in the system that is only started to germinate if the ‘hopping’ and ‘swapping’ phenomenon are left to prevail.
And so, the DPT established its stand on the issue. Fast forward to turn of events that are current and happening, the former party has spoken out of backlash to its previous claims on candidates switching parties. Good for it that it did not take the hypocritical path to go grabbing at potential DNT candidates with the PDP.
The move may not be in favor of DPT as it has veritably lost out dzongkhags and constituencies to its general elections opponent PDP (12 constituencies to be exact). It may need the presence of candidates whom the electorate identified better with and awarded more votes.
For one, DPT cannot afford to tarnish its integrity by resorting to such a nature of action because of its earlier stand on the process of inviting candidates from another party to up its game in select-constituencies.
Calling the DNT’s move to allow its candidates to hop to another party (PDP) a questionable behavior ethically and morally wrong, one that violated constitutional provisions was a feeble hand it played as a next best move.
The DNT reaction was absolute and swift when it called a press conference to call the DPT ‘lying to the nation’. Social Media like Twitter were a hive of retorts from the Nyamrup (DNT) camps.
The DNT wrote online that if DPT did not back down from its hostile stand, it would provide evidence of DPT candidates involved inviting DNT candidates into their party.
According to online exchanges of tweets on the DNT profile, the party has in its possession SMS (Short Message Service) evidence on former information and communications (MoIC) minister Nandalal Rai and former education minister Thakur S. Powdyel who were allegedly and subtly involved to invite DNT candidates into the DPT.
Of course, such evidence even if it comes to light would only call the senior ministers’ bluff on the ‘honest’ bandwagon, but would not actually inflict legally damaging charges to criminalize an entity as law allows the candidates to switch or hop to another party given that they fulfill a few criteria.
The Election Act, Article 209(c) states that a person shall be deemed duly nominated to contest an election to the national assembly, by a registered political party if it is a member of a registered political party which could not qualify for the general election but is admitted by a political party to contest in the general election. However, membership in the original party shall be forfeited.
However, online comments also attacked DNT, holding onto the words of its spokesperson Norbu Wangchuk who said on BBS TV that DNT would never join any party if they lose.
The political allegations are now officially in motion, and it will hopefully not get any dirtier for the good of long-term democratic foundation of this nation – repeatedly accounted for by many discerning voices as small, landlocked, and too fragile to take on the mantle of political upheavals much too damaging at this stage of its evolution.
The writer is the News Editor of The Bhutanese Sonam Pelvar