After much speculation by people and initial reports by newspapers, the news of the seven Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) members joining the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was declared and made public on the national television (BBS) on June 10.
Now that it’s official, most people are all talking about it and have different takes on it as well.
Among those who are very happy to hear the news of the seven DNT members joining the (PDP) is Sonam Phuntsho, a 29-year-old civil servant.
“This is good news for the country and people, and especially for those people who felt that some of the DNT members who have the potential deserved to be in the general rounds,” he said.
A teacher based in Phuentsholing, Rinchen Yarab said it will now be a battle between two strong parties with equally strong members.
“I strongly feel that this time, Parliament house won’t be like the past five years. The governing and the opposition party’s members will be almost equal unlike before where all the decisions are in favor of governing party. I am not sure, but I guess this time we will be able to watch the real drama of democracy and politicians,” said Rinchen.
A 23-year-old youth Tandin has followed the developments closely on social media forums like Facebook and Twitter. He is very pleased with how things have finally wrapped-up with the seven DNT members joining forces with PDP.
“I am extremely happy and expect some more DNT members in the general election and also happy that PDP welcomed them selflessly. There are people like me, who are at the same time, not happy to hear the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) president’s views on candidate reshufflings. We feel it’s probably because DNT and PDP combined became a threat for DPT,” said Tandin.
Speaking about the recent development, Tashi Samdrup from Punakha said, “It’s a ray of hope in the arena of Bhutanese politics, which very much craved for a silver lining among the dark clouds.”
Some of the senior citizens who observed the line of regionalism being drawn from the primary elections results, however, wore a worried expression on their brows. They feel what the primaries divided into east and west, where the east chose DPT and PDP became a west-chosen political body. They felt the merger would cement the partition solid, and perhaps, prove damaging for the unity of Bhutan.
“I am happy like others, but I think the partition has clearly drawn divisions in places. It was clearly from the primary round that eastern people opted for DPT and western and northern took sides with PDP. I think this kind of differences will create major issues in a young democratic country like ours,” Ap Lungten from Trashigang said.
“This is not only my view, but almost all the people in our country have noticed it and shares same views on it. I think no one can avoid talking about the country drawing borders between east and north and west,” he added.
In a different sort of development, some voters have highlighted the pointlessness of the primary rounds, if two parties were to become one, especially when many have sacrificed their time and work to vote for different parties based on individual choices.
The farmers, unlike the urban lot, seem to feel strongly about such inconveniences as they have had to leave farm works in midst of planting season to vote for different political candidates and parties.
Some farmers said this has confused many who keep asking other people for confirmation and assurance.
“There was no use for primary elections and it’s just wastage of time if they were to put back those candidates from another party,” said a farmer Tashi.
Aum Sangay Lhamo from Mongar said that the idea of letting other eliminated party members join the other qualified parties would not be fair on the candidates who were replaced by them.
“And also it creates uneasiness for the electorate. We voted by looking at the party as a whole, not by looking at the individual members,” she added.
Yeshi Wangchuk from Zhemgang who shared the same thought said democracy doesn’t seem as clear as it is supposed to be.
“It became a total mess for us people in rural areas who don’t even know the proper meaning of democracy and politics,” he said.