The dzongkhag dispute settlement committee in Trongsa is investigating a complaint Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) lodged against Nubi-Tangsibji constituency’s Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) candidate Yeshey Penjor for alleged violation of campaign rules.

Returning officer Kinzang Tobgye told Kuensel that his office received the complaint on September 18.

In a WeChat group consisting of DNT members, Yeshey Penjor allegedly said it was important that DNT formed the next government for development and good relations with India. “The Government of India would not be happy if DPT forms the government,” he said in the message.

Yeshey Penjor also said that Bhutan shares boundary with India on three sides and that it needed to maintain good relations with the neighbouring country. “We should convey that DPT coming to power is not in our interest,” he said in the voice message adding that the people along the border would be affected.

Bhutan, he said, receives a majority of its development assistance from India and that development in the country would be affected if DPT comes to power.

RO Kinzang Tobgye told Kuensel that he had forwarded the case to the dzongkhag dispute settlement committee.

DPT general secretary Sangay Phurba said that the DNT candidate had resorted to mudslinging by making a false statement. “It was a desperate way of campaigning,” he said.

He said DPT workers, including the DPT candidate from the constituency, Nidup Zangpo, filed the complaint.

He said that the DNT candidate had tried to make the country’s foreign policy an election issue. “We cannot bring such issues in our election,” Sangay Phurba said.

Yeshey Penjor said he had shared his views in the in house WeChat group and not for the general public. “It could be a DPT supporter who had shared the voice message on other social media platforms,” he said.

He said that it was not right to share such voice message outside the group. He said people know that he is a good person and that the incident would not affect his electoral prospects.

The office of RO has accepted the nomination of Yeshey Penjor.

According to the ECB Social Media Rules and Regulations 2018, no individual shall communicate/transmit/post hate messages or any content with intent to defame or reduce the electoral chances of an opposing contestant or political party.

The ECB’s notification calling the election states that all electoral stakeholders may use the social media for election or campaign purposes but shall ensure to abide by the Electoral Laws, Election Code of Conduct and specifically adhere to the requirements under the ECB Social Media Rules of the Kingdom of Bhutan, 2018.

MB Subba