Visit: Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay visited Shumar gewog in Pemagatshel on January 18. What he left behind was not promises or pledges, but 200 villagers who are convinced that in a democracy, the ruling party would not differentiate who supported which party during the elections.

Many villagers said it was the first time they saw their Prime Minister in person. They shared their gratitude, as it was the Lyonchoen’s first visit to Shumar gewog.

The visit, as many described, was an indication that the Lyonchoen has not forgotten their gewog because rumours after the second Parliament election were rife that Lyonchoen would never visit their gewog or Pemagatshel, the former Prime Minister’s constituency and stronghold, for political reasons.

One farmer, 77-year-old Kezang, said Lyonchoen’s visit was evidence enough that rumours are never true and that the important visit would now end all the rumours.

“Ever since the government won the election, we have been hearing that the government would never look after us for supporting the opposition party,” said the farmer.

“I was very excited when I heard about his visit and I asked my daughter thrice to confirm,” he said. “Everything is clear now.”

Others said that they heard that Prime Minister would be visiting other eastern dzongkhags but would not even look at Tshelingkhor gate, the junction where the road to Pemagatshel starts from the Trashigang-Samdrupjongkhar highway.

“When we heard about Lyonchoen’s visit to other gewogs in Pemagatshel, we’re wondering if he will come to Shumar,” 44-year-old Dechen said. “I listened to his speech attentively even though he spoke in Dzongkha.  I was just excited that he’d come to our gewog.”

Many said that more than listening to what the Lyonchoen was saying, they were happy to be there as they have seen him on television only.  Villagers as far as Dagor, almost 40km from the gewog, came a day early for the gathering. Some came for the local tshechu.

A former party worker from Dagor said rumours started during the campaign period when two party workers of the present government had informed people that if they supported the opposition party, Lyonchoen would never come to Pemagatshel.

The signing of annual performance agreement between the Prime Minister and dzongdag in Nganglam instead of Pemagatshel added fuel to the fire. People were convinced because the Lyonchoen had signed the APA with all the dzongdags in their dzongkhag headquarters and Pemagatshel’s was signed in Nganglam.

“But now we understand that this was all said to garner the votes at that moment because we’ve been not sidelined,” farmer Sangay Zangmo, 52 said. “Lyonchoen’s visit really made us feel we are not forgotten and the rumours were mere rumours.”

Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay told the people to worry about bringing developments to their gewogs and not by party politics. “Don’t think about Druk Phuensum Tshogpa or People’s Democratic Party and don’t differentiate,” Lyonchoen said. “In 2018 this differences will obviously appear again, but for now please forget all this and think as one nation. The government is same for everyone.”

Meanwhile, villagers welcomed the news that Nangkor High School would become a central school bringing the total number of central schools in the dzongkhag to three.

The Prime Minister congratulated the people for getting a dzongkhag thromde in Denchi and a new dzong, which is under construction. Lyonchoen also informed that a total of Nu 12.695 million has been allocated for the gewog for the 2015-2016 financial year. He added the gewog has 610 households, which means government is spending about Nu 20,811per household.

Lyonchoen also said that the government has approved Nu 785.06 million for Pemagatshel. “It is your dzongkhag’s budget, you should benefit and not any other dzongkhags,” he said.

Lyonchoen also informed that of the 22 projects proposed to BOIC amounting to Nu 28.362 million from Shumar, six had been approved. 11 projects are under review that would amount to Nu 8.689 million.”

Lyonchoen also shared with the people that the government is already planning for a bigger celebration for the soon to be born Royal Heir and urged people to be part of the celebration.

PM was in Pemagatshel from January 16 to 18 and visited six gewogs.

Yangchen C Rinzin, Pemagatshel