The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) kicked off its campaign after paying their respects to the Machen of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel at Punakha Dzong, on May 13.
After receiving blessings from the sacred Machen, party president Tshering Tobgay and the PDP team headed to the nearby town of Khuruthang. Party supporters welcomed Tshering Tobgay at the Ugyen Academy auditorium where more than 250 people greeted him. He addressed the packed hall by saying that PDP thought it was important to start the campaign with the blessings of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, and to start the party campaign from Punakha with the blessings of the guardian deities for a successful election. He said that he prayed for all political parties, and the entire population of Bhutan at a crucial time when the country is in the midst of the second democratic election period.
Tshering Tobgay said, “I am worried because the country deserves to have the right leadership.” He also added that any party that wins the election should benefit the country, and the people of Bhutan should exercise caution when they make their choice.
He called for the people to carefully evaluate the performance of the first democratically elected government, and to look at the instances where the government has not respected the rule of law. He said that democratic institutions, including the constitutional bodies came under a lot of criticism from the government while performing their constitutional duties. He said the people of the country are intelligent enough to make informed choices.
Tshering Tobgay also highlighted the difficulties of serving as the world’s smallest opposition party in the last five years. Apart from being numerically humbled, with just two members in parliament, the PDP had the challenging task of keeping the party afloat.
The PDP president explained the party’s ideology of Wangtse Chhirpel, and said the ordinary citizen deserves to be at the centre of the developmental process. The party ideology was driven by the belief of empowering the people at the grassroots level.
Outlining PDP’s pledges, Tshering Tobgay said the PDP government will transform every gewog in the country, by providing many new services. He said that each gewog centre will be given Nu 2mn, which is over and above the gewog annual budget. He said that the gewog centre can use the fund at their discretion.
This is expected to greatly empower the administration of the gewog. He also said that each of the 205 gewog centres will be connected with black-topped motor roads. He said that, if elected, the PDP government will have an FCB outlet in each gewog, a farmer’s bank, a community centre, and other service centres as well.
PDP pledges to have a thromde with an elected thrompon in every dzongkhag. He said every dzongkhag hospital will have at least three doctors including one specialist. He also said that the country should have at least two helicopter ambulances.
He said PDP will promise full employment for the youth. The party will explore the possibilities to start quotas for women in the Parliament, and the local government.
PDP also pledges to extend maternity leave for new mothers.
The team then, headed to Wangduephodrang where they were welcomed by a crowd of about 400 people.