South becomes the Kingmaker of Bhutanese politics

The 12 constituencies in the south have made a bold decision, collectively entrusting the nation to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). This united front is rooted in a shared belief that PDP will be the catalyst for transformative change, steering the nation towards a brighter future.

The Southern Bhutan region, comprising 12 crucial constituencies, has emerged as the kingmaker in this political landscape. Their collective decision reflects a deep understanding of the challenges facing the nation and a commitment to overcoming them for the greater good.

Dr T.B Rai, a successful PDP candidate in the recent general elections from Shompangkha constituency in Sarpang, attributed his victory in his constituency to the PDP’s extensive experience, both as an Opposition and a ruling government. He emphasized the party’s proactive approach to addressing economic slowdown through well-thought-out economic stimulation plan. He highlighted the inclusive nature of manifesto development, where the public actively contributed their input.

His long-standing dedication to serving the nation and a strong rapport with his constituency were also factors in his success. Having spent a year understanding local issues, he expressed his commitment to addressing challenges such as road infrastructure, economic concerns, drinking water availability, bridge needs, and the closure of businesses due to market issues.

Post-election, he expressed enthusiasm to address these issues and also aligning the plans with the vision of the Mindfulness City.

When asked about the support from the southern region for PDP, Dr Rai highlighted the awareness of citizens’ rights, consideration of deserving candidates, confidence in the party president, the credibility of the comprehensive manifesto, and the proven track record of the PDP. He emphasised voters’ wise decisions, stating that the current situation demands experienced leadership rather than trial and error. He assured that the PDP could demonstrate dedication and capability over time, and he expressed the public’s growing understanding of democracy and their rights.

Sangay Khandu, a successful PDP candidate from Tashicholing constituency in Samste, attributed his victory to the trust and confidence the people placed in him, citing his past track record. He emphasized his close relationship with the community, living among them and serving as a friend. When asked about his plans post-election, Khandu expressed a sense of urgency, stating his intention to commence work immediately, recognizing the limited five-year term. He outlined his goals, including engaging with the constituents, discussing plans for positive changes, and a strong determination to alleviate poverty.

Regarding the voting mentality in the southern region, Khandu noted that people view it as their decision and right, emphasizing the political balance and maturity of southern voters. He highlighted the unity of the people in the south, describing them as capable of making informed choices with broad perspectives. Khandu mentioned the southern region’s historical role as a kingmaker during general elections, stressing their collective focus on influencing government and ministerial candidates from the south to secure a ruling government. He acknowledged the people’s careful consideration in choosing their government, emphasizing that it is their full right and choice.

Lhakpa Tshering Tamang, a victorious PDP candidate from Sergithang_Tsirangtoed constituency in Tsirang, attributed his success in the constituency to the appealing pledges and positive track records of the party, instilling hope and impressing the people. He emphasized that his personal qualities and approachability also played a role in winning people’s trust. When queried about his future plans, he expressed a commitment to diligently work towards fulfilling all promised commitments and serving his constituents.

Regarding the southern region’s role as a kingmaker, He acknowledged the voters’ freedom to choose, but noted that the people in the south based their decisions on the party’s track record and the capabilities of the dedicated party president. He underscored the significance of voters making informed choices in alignment with their expectations and aspirations.

Chandra Bdr Gurung, the elected PDP candidate from Lhamoi Dzingkha–Tashiding constituency in Dagana, shared insights into the factors that contributed to his victory, and the support he garnered from the voters. One significant aspect was the electorate’s endorsement of the PDP’s commitment to honest leadership. He also highlighted the clean track record from 2013-2018. He acknowledged the invaluable contribution of a dedicated team of coordinators and supporters who played a crucial role in his successful campaign. Furthermore, he emphasised his proactive efforts over the last five years to establish genuine connections with constituents, demonstrating a sincere commitment to their concerns. Meanwhile, he pointed out the increasing awareness and education among the people about democracy and governance, suggesting a more informed electorate as a contributing factor to his success in the election.

Khagendra Acharja, a 32-year-old voter from Gelephu emphasised the importance of evaluating leaders based on their policies, governance, and overall impact on the nation’s well-being. According to him, the backing for the PDP in the South is likely to be influenced by a combination of these factors and the promises outlined in the party’s manifestos.

“It’s crucial to consider the diverse perspectives within the region rather than assuming a unanimous stance,” Khagendra stated. He highlighted the need for a thoughtful assessment of the varying opinions and values held by individuals, acknowledging that political support is contingent on personal perspectives.

Harka Chuwan from Dagana expressed that the people in southern Bhutan have made a significant and historic choice by selecting a government with considerable prior experience. According to him, the southern population is politically perceptive and patriotic, standing united in the expectation of meaningful change rather than opting for trial and error with a new party. Despite differences in caste, relations, or positions, the people boldly decided to entrust the nation to PDP, believing that PDP will fulfill its commitments in the future, recognizing the nation’s urgent need for positive transformation.

Suraj Prasad Dhakal, a 33-year-old voter from Samtse, provided insights into the voting behavior of people in the southern region. He highlighted the commendable aspect of their commitment, noting that once the southern population perceives a government as capable, they steadfastly remain committed without easily changing their stance. He cited the recent example where voters considered PDP as a deserving party after closely examining its past track record and comparing it with other parties. The voters believed that PDP had successfully fulfilled most of its promises in previous tenure.

Moreover, he explained that the leadership qualities played a significant role in influencing their decision. The voters trusted that the leader was capable, contributing to the perception that the party would be robust under committed leadership. He described the southern mentality as one that carefully weighs parties beforehand, determining the most deserving one capable of bringing about positive changes to the country. Importantly, once they make a decision, the people in the south remain determined and do not alter their mindset under any external influences.

Deepak from Tsirang mentioned that the people in the southern region continue to harbor emotional connections with the PDP and DPT since the inception of democracy in 2008. This enduring emotional link, coupled with the parties’ past track records and a deep-seated sentiment, particularly strong in the south, plays a pivotal role. The decisions stemming from the 12 constituencies in the region hold substantial influence and are decisive in shaping the political landscape for any party.

Overall, the southern region of Bhutan exhibits a dynamic and thoughtful political culture, where historical affiliations, emotional connections, and a vigilant assessment of leadership contribute to shaping the nation’s political trajectory. The 12 constituencies in the south play a pivotal role in influencing the course of governance, reflecting a united desire for positive change and a commitment to a better future for the nation.

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