“We’re often criticised as a party without experience and one with young candidates,” Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party’s president Neten Zangmo said. “If we don’t have young candidates, where will they get experience and who will take the responsibility when the elders retire?”

Speaking on the qualities of her party, Neten Zangmo said that the party had a mix of youth, women and able candidates to serve the country.

She also spoke to squash rumours that if BKP comes to power foreign relations would suffer. “With my experience as a former foreign secretary, I can vouch such issues would never arise,” she said. “There’re also people saying that should BKP come to power, everyone will be locked-up because I have served in Anti-Corruption Commission. Do you all steal?”

The crowd rolled with laughter.

Neten Zangmo continued with her regular philosophical reminder to ensure the elections are without fear or any compromise.

Neten Zangmo spent most of her time speaking on the need to shun immoral practices in elections.

“We must aspire to stand on our feet and end dependence on foreign aid,” she said. “There is a lot we can and must do which are covered in our manifesto.”

She said that the usual habit of citizens expecting everything from the government must end.

A resident of Serchenmo village in Wangphu, Kinley Dorji, said that he had his doubts about decentralisation. Despite numerous plan meetings, the village still does not have a motorable road.

She said that any party that comes to power could fetch adequate funds to implement the 12th Plan. “There’re ample sources of funding and, bear in mind, these funding organizations or countries don’t give to an individual in the government, they give to the country and the people.”

Phuntsho, 67, from Shokshing asked how would BKP solve the unemployment problem.

Neten Zangmo said that as per estimates, the government needs to create about 8,000 jobs a year. “We can do that, no sweat.”

She said that the private sector had to be strengthened, implement the labour Act, and promote cottage and small industries.

The first common forum had to wait for more than half an hour for electricity. The candidates had to shout to make themselves heard.

BKP president and the candidates of Dewathang-Gomdar constituency will meet with the people in Phuntshothang gewog in Samdrupcholing drungkhag today.

Tshering Palden | Gomdar