The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), symbolised by the black-necked cranes were greeted with an overwhelming crowd in the bird’s winter habitat, Trashiyangtse.

At the courtyard of Gomkora, more than 500 people gathered to listen to the president of DPT. A light drizzle did not deter the people.

Trashiyangtse, the DPT president Pema Gyamtsho said has supported the DPT since the onset of democracy in 2008 and it’s support base further strengthened in the primaries. “It is indeed a crane habitat,” he said.He also pledged to expedite Kholongchhu hydropower project.

The DPT president then moved to Rangjung in Trashigang, where close to 1,000 people from four gewogs had gathered. The former speaker, Jigme Tshiltrum and the candidates of Bartsham-Shongphu and Rashi-Sakteng received him there. Later the president campaigned in Udzrong.

In both the dzongkhags, the president emphasised on DPT’s pledge to achieve economic self-reliance by 2025. “The country is able to meet its recurrent expenditure today because of Chukha and Tala hydropower projects,” he said adding more needs to be built and the ongoing ones expedited in order to meet the capital expenditure fully.

He said that people must examine where the money would come from if parties promise freebies. DPT’s top priority, he said is to build an asset that would generate revenue. If people look forward to freebies, he said DPT doesn’t have any.

The president also stressed on education. “Our education policy cannot go wrong,” he said. Some people, he said are spreading rumors that if DPT comes to power, central schools would be shut down.

“Instead, we will improve the services and quality of central schools,” he said. Other schools too, according to the president would not be closed. He said that the issue of teacher shortage would be addressed. A mid-day meal would be provided even in the non-central schools.

If the quality of the education is important, he said examinations and marks are important.

If examinations for class VI are done away with, he said children would be happy because they cannot comprehend their future. “They would be happy because they can play all day long. But the parents must realise this,” he said.

Similarly if the cutoff point for class X is forsaken, Pema Gyamtsho asked how would the student decide their future course of study and more failures would be produced from class XII.

The DPT, he said considers examinations and marks important. “But we understand that it partially depends on luck and some students stress themselves, because of which some stumble,” he said.

DPT, if given the mandate to form the government, would give one more chance to repeat class X and XII for students who could not qualify in the first attempt. “This will ensure that their aim in life is not decided by one examination and it won’t cost much,” he said.

Tshering Dorji | Trashigang