Thinley Namgay

During the common forum held at Dawazhing village under the Bamdhir-Yurung-Zhongmaed chiwog, both candidates vying for the Maenbi-Tsaenkhar Constituency in Lhuentse emphasised their commitment to uplifting rural livelihoods.

People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP), Yeshey Dorji and Bhutan Tendrel Party’s (BTP) Tempa Dorji pledged to increase the rural life insurance claim from the current Nu 30,000 to Nu 150,000. They acknowledged the challenges faced by villagers when dealing with the demise of loved ones and the associated rituals.

Addressing the prevalent human-wildlife conflict in Maenbi-Tsaenkhar, the candidates assured the implementation of chain-link fencing. Additionally, they outlined shared commitments, including the construction of a bypass from Gayzamchu to Autsho, improvement of irrigation channels, provision of safe drinking water, enhancement of school facilities, and development of new farm roads.

While these shared goals formed the core of their promises, each candidate presented unique pledges. Yeshey Dorji, a former agriculture minister, vowed to offer interest-free loans for purchasing power tillers and jersey cows. He also pledged to reduce housing loan interest rates to four percent and cut data charges by 50 percent.

On the other hand, Tempa Dorji, a former national council member, proposed the introduction of a universal basic income called Phamai Drinlen Zurpho for non-pensioner senior citizens above 65 years and Jamchong Zurpho for differently-abled citizens. He also emphasised resolving systemic issues affecting villagers.

Both candidates highlighted their commitment to addressing the country’s fertility issues. Tempa Dorji pledged an annual fee of Nu 15,000 for newborns for 18 years, while Yeshey Dorji proposed a child support allowance of Nu 10,000 per month for every child born after the second child for three years.

The Maenbi-Tsaenkhar constituency, comprising Jarey, Maenbi, Maedtsho, and Tsaenkhar Gewogs, has 9,277 eligible voters, with primary challenges identified as human-wildlife conflict and the need for proper roads, as expressed by Tshogpa Tshewang Tenzin of Bamdhir-Yurung Chiwog.

The candidates urged voters to make informed choices during the upcoming elections.