On the sidelines of the Friday meet the Prime Minister Lyonchhen (Dr) Lotay Tshering accused the media and the Opposition party of ‘lying’ in their assessments of the government’s 25 pledges in 120 days.
The government had claimed that of the 25 pledges- it had achieved 11, another 11 was on track and that only three had not been fulfilled.
However, The Bhutanese after a detailed assessment of the 25 pledges of the government, their background and the facts on the ground concluded that only two had been fully achieved, and they were instituting the fourth pay commission and the other was removing the class 10 cut off point and initiating the discontinuing of exams till class 6.
Another four were partly achieved, and these are setting up a committee to draft the country’s long term vision, establishment of private sector development committee and implementing of 2016 recommendations, taxi driver and parking issues and establishing the tourism board implementing the Bhutan Tourism review.
Another newspaper Business Bhutan in its assessment also concluded that only two pledges had actually been achieved, contrary to the government’s claims.
This was followed by the Opposition party which went even further and said only one pledge in the form of instating the fourth Pay Commission had been achieved.
The Prime Minister repeatedly said that the media had lied and called a newspaper a ‘liar’ in front of other journalists.
Poking fun, the PM said that he had seen the newspaper and the Opposition party speaking in the same voice for the first time.
The Prime Minister claimed that he had just read the headline of the story and then assumed the content would not be good and would have ‘lies’.
The Prime Minister’s outburst and un-parliamentary language was in sharp contrast to the Foreign Minister, Lyonpo Tandin Dorji who had spoken at the Friday meet on the 120 pledges.
Lyonpo thanked the media for the feedback on the 120 day pledges. He said that there are issues which need immediate action and also long term action and to avoid issues which had come up in the past, they are taking a consultative approach with various agencies.
The Prime Minister during the 120-day press conference on 8th March had explained the progress on the pledges but he had refused to state how many had been achieved or not achieved when asked by this paper.
At the time, he said that it would be up to the media and the people to make that judgment and there was no score card.
However, contrary to the PM’s claim on there being no score card, the cabinet, a day later, issued a score card of achieved, on track and not achieved pledges.
The government had not yet implemented a free lunch feeding program for all schools within 120 days, as it promised, but it claimed this pledge was achieved based on a cabinet decision.
It had earlier stated that it dropped the Samrang pledge based on ECB’s observation and the fact that iSamrang was not found to be a meat processing plant. However, this dropped pledge was also shown as achieved.
There were several similar commissions and omissions in the other so called ‘achieved’ or ‘on track’ pledges.
Some of them took past governments achievements as their own while others ignored the specific commitments and language of the 25 pledges.