Right after the clock struck seven in the morning today, June 14, the PDP President, Tshering Tobgay, entered the Punakha Dzong, offered his prayers and received the blessings from the sacred Machen of the Zhabdrung. Tshering Tobgay also met some party supporters waiting outside the Dzong, and began the PDP President’s campaign for the general round.
Tshering Tobgay led his small team to Khuruthang town for breakfast in a hotel, and groups of supporters already started to assemble outside the hotel. The PDP President greeted and met the people. The first formal campaign meeting for the President started at 10:30 am, half an hour before the scheduled time at the Ugyen Academy.
The auditorium of the school was packed with more than 400 people and the number kept on increasing. The two PDP candidates of Punakha, Chimi Dorji and Dophu Dukpa, began by thanking the people of Punakha for the support they have rendered in the primary round of elections, where PDP triumphed in both the constituencies.
Tshering Tobgay began on the same note, by thanking the people of Punakha, and explained the importance of formally starting the campaign from Punakha, the seat of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel.
He also explained the party ideology of Wangtse-Chhirpel, and highlighted the party’s pledge of providing an annual grant Nu 2 million to every gewog. He said that the ordinary people can decide how to use the money in any way they want. He said that the PDP is driven by the idea of empowering people and empowering the gewog is a direct means to empowering the people.
Tshering Tobgay then clarified on the accusations made by the DPT President that the PDP and DNT have formed a coalition. He said that the DPT President is lying to the nation, and said, “If the allegation was true, ECB would have taken action. ECB would not have approved the seven former candidates of DNT who have joined the PDP.” He said that if the allegation is true, DPT should take the PDP to court, rather than lying to the nation and confusing the people with lies.
The PDP President said that the instead of campaigning, the DPT is lying about PDP and DNT merging and also criticizing PDP’s pledges. “He should be talking about his DPT’s pledges rather than talking about the PDP pledges.” He also said it appears that the DPT is worried about the support PDP is getting from the people, and that has made them criticize PDP’s pledges. “The coming of seven former DNT candidates has made an already strong PDP team even stronger, and that has worried the DPT.”
He said that the DPT had also approached DNT candidates to join them and called the people to analyze why some responsible candidates of DNT chose PDP over DPT.
He said that if the DPT President has not lied and had not accused the PDP wrongly, he would not be talking about DPT. But he said that since the DPT President has blatantly lied, he ought to clear the air let the nation know the truth.
He called the people to support the right party in the general round, a party that doesn’t lie and a party that is willing to listen to the people.
He also said that if the PDP pledges were unrealistic as the DPT is trying to falsely prove, the DPT has no reason to complain and should leave it to the people to decide because the Bhutanese people are capable enough to do it. But the DPT is complaining because they know the pledges are realistic and all of it can be achieved.
Similarly, he said purchasing two helicopters is easily doable. He said that having fuel depot in every gewog did not mean that the government will be starting the depots, but the PDP government will engage the local people from the gewog to open up the depot and adequate support will be given by the government.
A former DPT supporter who came to attend the meeting, Namgyel, 39, from Talo said that he has decided to support PDP because the DPT made a lot of empty promises and delivered nothing substantial in the past five years. “DPT even promised one power tiller to every village and one power chain to every household, and now we realized that they had lied under their teeth,” he said.
A former Khuruthang town representative, Tenzin Namgyel, 35, said that when people took their problems to the government, the DPT leadership asked for proof and never took the people seriously. “That is why I am supporting PDP,” he said.
The meeting in Punakha lasted for two hours and after lunch, the president moved to Wangdue Phodrang. More than three hundred people were waiting for him at the Bajo School.
After the meeting in Wangdue Phodrang, PDP President Tshering Tobgay left for Paro to meet the people there.
Thukten Zangpo/ Thimphu