Same old queries for candidates in Bumthang

Main issues and doubts arising from the Bhutan-India relations and national debt as in the other common forums made its way to the Tang- Chhoekhor constituency forum in Bumthang during the question hour session on Thursday.

The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) candidate from the constituency is the former agriculture minister Dr Pema Gyamtsho and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate is Kuenzang Thinley.

Other than the queries on the Bhutan-India relations, the people asked the DPT candidate about the importance of having an Opposition Leader and the Supreme Court case on Taxation.

Responding to the question about Opposition Leader the DPT candidate said, “It is also important to have an Opposition Leader (OL) as OL is a representative of the people.” Regarding the court case on taxation he said the then ruling government and opposition had different thoughts on the taxation and that is why they had a case. “DPT also respects the verdict of the court and DPT also respects the opposition party,” added Dr Pema Gyamtsho.

On the Bhutan-India relations, he clarified that it is an important duty for all the people to protect the sovereignty of the country. “If the news or story is not true then we should not expose it to the people, the relationship between Bhutan and India is very strong, and it will continue to have a strong bond. DPT has made a strong bond with India, for example, in 10th FYP, DPT had requested for a additional budget of 15 million and Indian government (GOI) has granted our request.”

Dr Pema Gyamtsho also clarified doubts on the issue of balance budget that was not released by the GoI.

“It is not true that the balance budget had not been released, and if you have doubt you can ask the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA),” he said

The PDP candidate Kuenzang Thinley was asked about how the PDP, if it comes to power, will resolve issue on Bhutan-India relations, LPG and Kerosene price subsidy withdrawal, clear the national debt, and at the same time address their pledges like Bhutan Lottery, etc.

The PDP candidate said, “All our pledges are made to help people, so in order to fulfill the pledges, PDP need only Nu 2bn and the money generated within our country is Nu 19bn. So we can fulfill our pledges to the people, which is not only for the sake of vote.”

Regarding the question on LPG and Kerosene subsidy withdrawal, the PDP candidate said that it is a major concern.

“It is my view that it has happened due to the affected relations, otherwise they (India) will not withdraw the subsidy. This is because during five-year term as ruling government DPT might have done something wrong with India,” Kuenzang Thinley added.

Kuenzang Thinley said PDP will reopen the Bhutan Lottery because it had been generating an income of about Nu 200mn every year, which will help to reduce the Rupee shortage in the country.

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