Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP), its president said, respects and accepts the decision of the people with humility.

Despite securing the least number of votes in the primary round of the elections on September 15, BKP has more reasons to celebrate, party president Neten Zangmo said.

“We must celebrate for creating political consciousness, and the imprint of a new political narrative that the party has left behind,” she said.

At the same time she said that the party will also introspect critically vis-à-vis the election results and take stock of its affairs.

She said the party must ask the hard question where did it fail collectively and more importantly she as the president.

“Where did I fail as the president and if I have the moral authority to continue? I have to be answerable and accountable,” she said.

Treading the truthful path of political morality, she said was a difficult journey especially where politics and politicians were seen as distrustful. “We, however, steadfastly stood by our values and views,” she said.

Among the lessons learnt personally, she said that in trying to redefine politics and politicians and avoid divisiveness, she had trivialised the need for a solid infrastructure or party coordinators and jabchorpas.

“I wanted to instill political consciousness in the people and them to be my infrastructure but that failed,” she said.

For the future, the party will be more strategic and smarter in its preparations.

She said that her party is proud of the path it has consciously chosen and will continue to tread that path but more intelligently and strategically.

Neten Zangmo said money certainly played a role in the elections. Her party did not serve food and drinks to people, did not ferry people to their home districts, offered no gifts, and did not enrich the coordinators and the party machinery.

She returned more than Nu 97,000 of the state campaign fund of Nu 150,000 she received from the election commission.

“We are proud we hold our heads high with dignity and self esteem,” she said. “For us we have always said that the party would lose with our integrity intact rather than win through unethical means and we have always held to that conviction.”

She said this year there were many dynamics and interplay of many factors.

She said that those 28,473 voters who voted for the party did so out of unconditional trust and confidence in the party and its values. “They are the seeds of the party’s views and values it has sown and is an achievement to be celebrated,” she said.

To the two parties that have got through to the general round, Neten Zangmo assured them of her party’s full support.

“Ultimately they also mean well for the country,” she said, adding that BKP would play its part in deepening democracy.

BKP got only 9.78 percent of the total 291,106 votes cast in the primaries. The party secured the least number of votes also from Dewathang-Gomdar constituency in Samdrupjongkhar, the constituency of its president Neten Zangmo. She had 1,506 votes or 15 percent of the votes cast including 815 postal ballots.

The party had received the most votes in two polling stations of Menchari (47) and Philooma in Orong (44) of the constituency but recorded the least across 14 out of the 33 polling stations in the constituency.

On the whole, BKP won more than 1,000 votes in five constituencies including Dewathang-Gomdar. Aum Neten Zangmo got the second most after Chador Wangmo from Drujeygang Tseza constituency in Dagana who secured 1,745.

Aum Neten appeared least troubled but felt sorry for the supporters who poured their support after the results.

However, she is not the first president to lose in her home ground. Druk Chirwang Tshogpa president Lily Wangchuk lost from North Thimphu in 2013.

With eight more years, before she turns 65, Aum Neten Zangmo could still return in 2023.

Although the party won’t get state funding in 2023 because of not winning the required votes, it won’t shy away and retreat. “We’ve to strategise and strengthen ourselves and continue this arduous political journey for the sake of our nation and people,” she said. “As pawos and pamos (warriors), there is no question of retreating specially with the sort of political mission that we have embarked upon to redefine politics and politicians.”

Just as the world recognises Bhutan for its GNH policies, she said, it also should recognise the country for redefining politics. “What more natural place than Bhutan to do it,” Neten Zangmo said. “For the sake of people who believe in BKP, we must move on. BKP’s time will come.”

Tshering Palden | Samdrupjongkhar