PDP launches its campaign in Punakha

The PDP president sits with the voters
The PDP president sits with the voters

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.

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2 comments

  1. Dear Ex-OL,

    I am not sure if your talent in speaking various dialects of Bhutan like EX-PM. The Ex-PM speaks in Sharchop when campaigning in eastern bhutan, bumthap in Bumthang, Nepali in Southern Bhutan, Dzongkha in western bhutan, khengkha in Zhemgang area and Mangdib kha in Trongsa area. It is great talent. 

    But, what I personally do not understand is, why the other candidates were not allowed to do the campaign in their local dialects. We can see in the TV that some Lhotsampas are reading the speech – what a pity? How can the audience understand when the speaker do not understand what he/she is reading. It is same in Eastern Bhutan – many people who come to listen the campaign speech do not understand Dzongkha while it is mandatory for the candidates to speak in Dzongkha. Is it as per constitution that parties can only speak in Dzongkha while campaigning except whoever is the Ex-PM. 

    • Pema L, I don’t think there is a need for you to accuse the PM of getting special treatment, because it is not true. PM as the President of DPT can speak any dialect he wants and likewise all the party Presidents can speak in any dialect they are comfortable with. In regard to common forums, however, it is mandatory for the candidates to speak in Dzongkha it seems, that is why you saw some lhotshampa candidates from the south reading their speeches. When the Ex PM engages in the common forum debates organized in his constituency, he too will be required to speak in Dzongkha along with the candidates from the other parties.

      I agree with you that speaking in a dialect/language that the majority don’t understand defeats the very purpose of having a meetings etc, so maybe the ECB needs to look into this issue. Mind you, however, the National language lobby in Bhutan is very strong, so no changes will be forthcoming in the near future.

      So without knowing the full story, kindly stop accusing others of getting preferential treatment.

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