It is better to lose an election than to allure voters by promising freebies for short gains and emptying the government coffer to fulfill pledges that are unsustainable, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) President, Pema Gyamtsho said while campaigning in Paro and Thimphu.

Whichever party comes to power, he said the government of day would not place undue burden on the people. “But people should also take some responsibility, instead of putting all their burden on the government,” he said.

The DPT, he said was put under scrutiny for all the wrong reasons. Few, he said, threatened supporters and coordinators instilling fear and cultivating negative sentiments. There were also rumors that the party was dissolving. “If we have resorted to unlawful activities, we would be disqualified for the Primaries,” he said adding that the fact DPT made it through to the general election indicates the party has the ability to serve with loyalty and dedication.

Speaking to the people of Lamgong Wangchang in Paro, the president said DPT while in the government had invested in future assets like road, electricity and communication. “If we had thought for just five years, the situation would be different today,” he said.

While in the Opposition, he said the party’s intention was not to stop the government activities that benefited people.

On social media rumours claiming that DPT coming to power may upset India, Pema Gyamtsho said that Indo-Bhutan relation transcends politics. Whichever party comes to power, he said, strengthening the Indo-Bhutan relation would be the top priority. He urged the people to report to him and the candidates, should any individual spread such false news and instill fear among the people. “This is illegal and not in keeping with His Majesty’s Kasho calling the elections,” he said.

DPT pledged to make timber, stone and sand easily accessible in the rural areas and simplify the process of acquiring permit.

Should DPT get the mandate to form the government, the Gewog Development Grant (GDG) would be increased from Nu 2M to Nu 7M a gewog. A major overhaul on the guideline is expected.

GDG, Pema Gyamtsho said should not be used to supplement the planned activities, neither construction of roads or other infrastructures. “All this should be covered in the annual budget. If activities are slashed from the plan and financed by the GDG, it is not a grant,” he said.

If DPT forms the government, GDG would be implemented for social projects and activities that generate employment and explore economic opportunities.

For instance, the president said, in a community there might be some families that don’t have proper homes while some own mansions. “If we don’t care for our neighbours, we are not a GNH society,” he said. GDG, he said would be used to build home for homeless and make them earn a living.

When people in the villages leave for farm works, he said that the elderly are left alone at homes. With GDG, a gathering place for elderly people in the villages with caregivers and a day meal could be provided. Likewise, he said unemployed youth in the villages could form a group and undergo skills development training and initiate some projects in the villages.

“The purpose is to foster community vitality and bring about happiness at the grassroots,” he said.

DPT, he said will never bring political interference in the local government and civil service. Neither will it initiate businesses that the private sector is capable of executing.

As the meeting in Wangchang gewog came to an end, a white iron bird flew above the gewog centre. “A good omen is thus affirmed,” remarked DPT candidate Phub Tshering.

In South Thimphu, DPT president said the party is not displeased with the fact that it lost in the constituency. “Even if we got just one vote, we are happy because it entails your support.”

Tshering Dorji | Paro