Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party’s (BKP) incumbent president Sonam Tobgay handed over the party presidentship to Dasho Neten Zangmo, the former chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission yesterday at the party office in Thimphu.

Dasho Neten Zangmo who officially registered as a member of BKP on May 26 at Dewathang, Samdrupjongkhar, will contest from Dewathang-Gomdar constituency.

In a press conference held to hand over the presidency, former president Sonam Tobgay said he has served as a party president for the last many years and has given his best to keep the party alive with his friends’ support.

“But I think the country deserves more and we couldn’t ask for no other best person than Dasho Neten herself,” Sonam Tobgay said. “The country deserves someone better than me, which is why adhering to all the electoral procedures, I am handing over the presidentship to Dasho Neten on this auspicious day.”

He added that the party’s aim was not to get vote but to lift the standards of democracy and Dasho Neten Zangmo is capable to do this. He said she has no engagement in politics or with a political party.

“We really want to give politics a chance and give politics the respect it deserves. This is the overall context on why Dasho has consented to join politics,” he said.

Dasho Neten Zangmo said she joined politics without any condition and that she did not ask Sonam Tobgay for the presidentship or a ministerial post because she joined the party as she shared its same values and principles.

“Becoming a president or getting a ministerial post is not important but even if I have to work as a member, I will be happy,” Dasho Neten Zangmo said.

The new party president also said that a space should be created for people to express oneself without fears. “It feels like a dream; it is just two days old, but it has given me so much energy that comes from the sheer thought of what one can do,” she said.

Dasho Neten Zangmo said it is a huge responsibility and while building roads or bridges or giving lecture is easy, changing the people’s mindset is not.

“People might say she is foolish and may not last long but I don’t care about all these,” she said. “It is fine with me even if I last for a month. But we must do our best together and be frank, fearless and trust each other.”

Dasho Neten added that the perception that women cannot be a party president or a high government official is more of a rural thinking. “I’m sure my grandmother would have said why am I doing a man’s job, but this has to change,” she said. “What matters is the quality of the leader.”

Meanwhile, Sonam Tobgay said the party is ahead of the other parties in terms of at least a leader.

Yangchen C Rinzin