A standout question asked by a local resident in Khatoed was about ‘how equal’ PDP and DPT would treat people in terms of equality if it came to power.
This question was in part prompted by the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) candidate Dorji Khandu’s claims that People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Damcho Dorji could not fulfill many of his claims because he was in the Opposition.
The DPT candidate said that Damcho Dorji would have received more cooperation in fulfilling his pledges if he was not in the Opposition.
Picking up on this Damcho Dorji ripped into his opponent and said that this statement was proof of DPT’s real ideology and he also expressed concerns on the future of democracy with such attitudes. The PDP candidate said that in a democracy all citizens are equal irrespective of whom they vote for.
The DPT candidate in defense said that his party stood for equity and justice for everybody.
The PDP VP who was not quite done also raised the same question during the question and answer session between candidates.
Other questions raised during the question hour session of the public debate in Khatoed-Laya on Monday were mostly based on party pledges. A member of the audience had raised the question on why the two parties engaged so much time to criticize each other’s pledges as there is no productive end to it. Other questions involved the issue of national debt and the need for party manifesto books for constituents as reference.
Candidates of the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) tossed justifications in response to these questions put up from the floor by their audience.
The DPT candidate in the constituency is Dorji Khandu and PDP candidate is the former National Assembly (NA) MP Damchoe Dorji.
Regarding the issue of blaming party pledges, PDP candidate Damchoe Dorji agreed that it is true. “Blaming each other’s party pledges will create confusion and misunderstanding between the people and we should not do like these,” he added.
On the same topic the DPT candidate offered his version of the answer but with his own little twist to it.
“If we blame each other’s pledges then we will have good results. For example, the opposition role is to oppose to the ruling government, if government is doing good, opposition should also inform the people about it but only the bad ones are informed to the people. We should not do like this,” said DPT’s Dorji Khandu.
Responding to need for the book of pledges, the PDP candidate said that while campaigning, candidates say that all the pledges are written in the book.
“It is true, but if we read all the pledges from the book some people might not understand. We have not provided (copies of manifesto) because some people might not understand but incase if you are interested you may inform us and we will provide it,” said PDP candidate Damchoe Dorji.
On this, the DPT candidate said that, all the people will get a copy each of the ‘books of pledges’ or the party manifesto.
Regarding the national debt, the PDP candidate said the debt was not generated by PDP as it was increasing since 2008 (the beginning of DPT government’s term).
“PDP had requested the DPT on this but they said that there will be no problem. Now we can see lots of problem in the country like rupee crisis, no loan to the people. Still there are lots of problem in the country but DPT always says that there are no problem in the country in order to get the vote,” said Damchoe Dorji.
In defense of his party the DPT candidate said, “DPT had made a debt due to the increasing economic development works in the country like construction of the hydropower projects. When all the construction of hydropower projects is over then there will be no problem in the country.”
In response to the question on ‘equal treatment’ the PDP candidate said whether it is PDP or DPT who comes to power, we should treat the people with ‘equality and justice.’
DPT candidate in agreement seconded his opponent’s answer.
“It is not right to treat people differently. All the people should be treated equal,” he said.