The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) president Pema Gyamtsho during his campaign in Tsirang yesterday, said people should not leave it up to the political parties to decide where to take the country.

“Instead people should think carefully and decide by voting for the right party. Leaving it up to the party themselves is a mistake,” the president said.

He said people have to follow the party manifestos and pledges closely and ask questions if they don’t understand. “Whatever political parties say or pledge are primarily to garner votes but you people have to decide whether the pledges are doable and beneficial for the people and country.”

DPT, he said, does not pledge anything that brings temporary happiness to people but pledges those things that can make the country sovereign and self-reliant for generations to come. “Reviving our economy to achieve self-reliant by 2025 is what we’ll strive for should we form the government.”

Pema Gyamtsho said providing free services to people such as free wi-fi, free 100-unit electricity and paying rural mothers to exclusively breastfeed their child for six months are temporary measures. “Expecting such free services will never let the country achieve self-reliant.”

He also said that there are pledges to bring health care services to every gewog equipped with doctors but people need to understand that it has been 55 years since developmental activities began in the country, yet the national referral hospital could not be equipped with adequate medical doctors.

“If DPT comes to power, besides providing additional medical professionals to the referral hospitals, the existing hospitals will be provided with additional nurses, health assistants and at least one medical specialist,” he said.

Clarifying the rumour of DPT closing central school if they come to power, the president said that central school would continue. “However, for equality in service for all, the central school policy will be reviewed. We’ll ensure at least a free lunch in all other schools.”

Pema Gyamtsho said that DPT has framed its pledges and manifestos with proper calculations on income and expenditure and the pledges are doable.

He said that for the benefit of the rural people, one of many areas the party will prioritise should it form the government is doing away with the Rural Livestock Development Corporation. “The corporation at the moment has been competing with the public in the livestock sector, snatching away the income of the farmers.”

Controlling rural-urban migration by making construction materials available easily and cheap, establishing an independent agriculture bank that provides agriculture loan at low-interest rates, making drinking and irrigation water available, compensating damage of high-end crops and combating human-wildlife conflict were some of the other rural pledges the president explained to the people of Tsirang.

Nirmala Pokhrel | Tsirang