PM lets the cat out the bag on Home Minister appointment

Increasingly clear that Karma Dorji will be the next Home Minister

It was supposed to be a standard line from the Prime Minister that the government is yet to decide on the Home Minister during the monthly meet-the-press, but the Prime Minister unintentionally let the cat out of the bag and ended up giving a big but obvious hint on who would be the next home minister.

Responding to a journalist during the meet the press Lyonchhen Dr. Dasho Lotay Tshering said that they are yet to discuss and decide but while answering this he suddenly talked about how the two candidates who won the bye elections are awaiting the 10-day dispute period and are yet to come to Thimphu.

By this time, it was too late to put the cat back into the bag and a reporter from this paper in a follow up question pointed to the PM that while the question had been about the Home Minister he had talked a lot about the two bye election winners and if this means that one of them will be the next Home Minister.

The Prime Minister tried to refurbish his answer but the secret was out by now.

From the above, it is becoming increasingly clear that DNT’s Nganglam candidate Karma Dorji is the most probable candidate to be Bhutan’s next Home Minister based on his seniority as one of the founders of DNT and also after winning a near impossible seat in Nganglam.

His appointment would also restore the regional balance that DNT had tried to achieve in 2018 with at least three ministers from each region as currently the east only has two ministers in the form of MoWHS Minister Dorji Tshering, from Radhi-Sakteng, Trashigang and Labour Minister Ugyen Dorji, from Thrimshing, Trashigang with the resignation of the former Home Minister Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen, from Mongar.

Initially the PM said, “There is nothing written in black and white on the norms of appointment of a home minister. There is only one line written in the Constitution stating that the nomination should be submitted by the Prime Minister to His Majesty The King who will appoint the Home Minister.”

He said they have not talked about it among their party members, MPs, DNT executive members and Cabinet Ministers on how it’s to be done as the decision will always be by consensus.

He said that the ministers have been involved with a lot of COVID-19 related activities and they did not get time to think or discuss on this matter.

Lyonchhen said they are concerned and will discuss about it once the COVID-19 situation gets better and after a successful second dose of vaccination.

He added, “For now, the current Foreign Minister Dr. Tandi Dorji is officiating the post and all the responsibilities of a full potential Home Minister can also be done by the officiating minister. In any event major decisions will have to come to cabinet. Otherwise, day to day decisions are handled by Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji.”

From here the Prime Minister let the cat out of the bag when he said, “Very frankly speaking we have not decided on that. The bye election is done and the results at hand is only the informal results as there are 10 working days given by the ECB after which ECB will formally certify the MPs who are handed over to the Speaker to be formally inducted into the Parliament to be DNT MPs and due to that there is no chance to discuss.”

When the reporter from this paper pointed out that Lyonchhen had just given a big hint on who would be the next Home Minister the PM claimed that the reporter is trying to put words into his mouth.

He tried to do some damage control saying that the two Karmas are on their way to Parliament.

“Do not expect this government to make an appointment before they are formally inducted in Parliament,” said the PM giving another unintentional clue.

The PM said that all MPs are eligible and equal to be considered for selection and the two must also get a share to be considered.

The Prime Minister said that he has ‘53 years of experience which works’ in a final parting shot while trying to downplay the clues in his answer.

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