The Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) was the last party to register with the ECB on 11th January 2023 but it was the first party to declare all 47 candidates.
BTP in a short period not only got together seasoned candidates from politics, civil service and business but it conducted a massive consultation campaign with various segments of society.
While all parties declared they had strong candidates quite a few from DPT and DTT choked during the debates or simply did not do well.
BTP was a stark contrast as its candidates did well during the debates which gave the party an air of competence and seriousness.
BTP was helped by the fact that its President Pema Chewang is a Red Scarf Officer and was the Land Secretary which lent more weight to the party.
While the BTP President was not a camera talent he had a much freer flowing and natural style in talking to groups of people and connected well with them all over the country not hesitating to throw in jokes.
Among the new parties, while DTT had a high-tech manifesto that at times flew over people’s heads the BTP had a simpler one with the main message being improvement of service delivery and achieving national prosperity by enhancing the household income.
In his campaigns on the ground the DTT President talked about public services, Nu 50 bn Infrastructure Stimulus Plan, high end agriculture, opening up tourism, increasing life insurance to Nu 150,000 and the annual health check-up.
What helped the BTP was the fact that its President is from the east and so this helped the party to build a strong base in the east.
However, it did not restrict itself to the east but also penetrated the west and south coming second in most constituencies.
BTP insiders expected to do much better and even get the first place in the primary round but they are also happy that they have achieved so much in their first election.
The BTP doing well on postal ballots also showed that the party had struck a chord with civil servants.
It is significant that the party was seen as the alternative to PDP.
While the BTP faces a daunting task in the final round going ahead, the party’s strategy will be to focus on the seats that it can win and bring to bear time and resources in them.
According to a reliable source, candidates from other parties who have done well are contacting the BTP with offers to join given that many BTP candidates could not do well.
However, BTP is yet to decide on how it will handle these proposals.
The main challenge for BTP going into the final round will be to show that it is not just strong in the east due to its President, but it has a much wider vision to offer.
It will also have to overcome the reluctance among people to give a chance to new parties given what happened with DNT.
BTP will also have to add more meaning and depth to its manifesto.