More than 50 voters gathered at Bjishong Central School in Gasa to witness debate for Khamed Lunana constituency on September 5.

Druk Phuensum Tshogpa’s candidate, Dhendup, a graduate from Lunana said he joined politics to encourage young people in his community to pursue higher studies.

“Having experienced the hardships and lives of community for last 18 years. I understand the problems and issues of my people well and I wish to present the issues to the parliament if elected,” said Dhendup. “Those going to school did not have anyone to look up to as a role model. They lacked inspiration. The modern amenities like television and mobile phones were not available in the place to seek the change and to look for an inspiration.”

Dhendup pledged to facilitate education tour and plan other measures to curb dropout situation in Lunana and come up with the plans and policies that would enable equal participation at the grassroots level.

Bhutan Kuenyam Party’s candidate Kinley Dorji shared the party’s mission to reduce corruption and said existence of several legislations as the cause. He also highlighted the party’s sustainable approach being guided by party’s vision of beyond five years and leaving no one behind.

The candidate focused on realizing the potential of youth to enhance private sector development and to create opportunities. He highlighted the need to provide gainful and dignified employment through policy promulgation and finance, financial inclusion strategies, and favorable fiscal policy among others.

He said the private sector development was misunderstood to occur only in urban areas. “We would like to enhance this in rural areas. We don’t have many pledges like others,” said Kinley Dorji.

Acknowledging the gewog for their support in the previous election, People’s Democratic candidate, Pema Drukpa, said that his party fulfilled 99 percent of pledges made in 2013.

PDP pledged to increase the gewog development grant to 50 lakhs and support a 20 million project in the gewog. “The 20 million budget supports can be invested in coming up with projects like mineral water factory of the dzongkhag. This can also help in curbing youth unemployment,” said Pema Drukpa.

He added that each household in Khamed would get Nu 50,000 if gewog development was grant divided.

Electricity supply to Lunana, purchasing another helicopter, starting central school, power tiller and ECCD in chiwogs, road to Goensa, and Khailog chiwog and 3G Internet service among others were the party’s pledge for the gewog.

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s candidate Yeshey Dem assured that DNT would serve the people better.

She said all four parties shared similar mission, vision and pledges. “Different pledge that we have to offer for the people is enabling access to free communication and online data. Suung Joen app would help people communicate freely and free access to watch BBS and other online sites. Provide free Wi-Fi points with first 120 days in the country.”

Yeshey Dem said new parties were formed in time when politics was causing division and resentment in community and family. “Two new different and strong parties are here to solve these situations,” she said. “If the opportunities are given to the same party, this will result to the situation where a youth like me will have to pay millions to get the opportunity in future.”

The candidate, the lone women candidate from the constituency, shared challenges she faced during familiarization and door-to-door campaign.

The candidates exchanged their views on diversification of the economy, youth employment, private sector development, agriculture, tourism, hydropower debts, and import substitutions among others in the debate.

Nima | Gasa