The Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) president, Pema Gyamtsho, met with the people of the Bji-Kartsho-Uesu constituency and members of the business community in Haa at the multi-purpose hall of Gongzin Ugyen Dorji Central School yesterday morning.

People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) member Kinley Om represented the Bji-Kartsho-Uesu constituency from 2013 to 2018.DPT’s Ugyen Tenzin had won from the constituency in the first parliamentary election in 2008.

Haa is the home dzongkhag of PDP president Tshering Tobgay, who belongs to Sombaykha constituency.

Pema Gyamtsho said that the party had a difficult time finding a candidate from the constituency despite their deep support for DPT. “Many people from Haa support our party but they hesitate to come out openly,” he said.

Introducing the constituency’s candidate to the people, Pema Gyamtsho said that youth deserve opportunities to serve the people. “How can our youth get the experience if they are not given an opportunity?”

The party recently nominated Sonam Tobgay, 27, from the constituency.

DPT’s dzongkhag coordinator, Nim Tshering, told Kuensel that the party does not have rich supporters in the dzongkhag. “Although people support us they don’t come out openly,” he said.

On why Paro and Haa were chosen in the first round of his campaign, the DPT president said that while Paro holds historical and cultural significance in Bhutan, Haa was chosen for its proximity from Paro.

However, he did not visit Sombaykha constituency in the dzongkhag/ Pema Gyamtsho said he would go to Sombaykha after the presidential debate.

The DPT president also clarified the rumours that the party was uncertain to contest the election. The election commission, he said, would not have issued the letter of acceptance if DPT were not participating in the election.

Pema Gyamtsho said, “Some people have spread false rumours about DPT. We have served the King, country and people with utmost dedication and loyalty.”

The country, he said, had reached crossroads and that if a right path was not taken, then democracy would not head in the right direction.

He also encouraged the people to listen to all the political parties and make an informed choice. “People should consider the ideology and pledges to make a right choice.”

The DPT president said as many citizens as possible should participate in the electoral process to strengthen democracy. “Neither the country nor the people would benefit if people exchange votes with money,” he said.

Pema Gyamtsho said that efforts were being made by some rival parties to replace DPT by spreading false rumours about the party. “The parties should focus on their own manifestos and ideologies instead of defaming the rival parties.”

He said that the party’s manifesto, which was launched yesterday in Thimphu, revolves around its goal of achieving self-reliance by 2025. “Development would make little sense without security and sovereignty of Bhutan.”

He also highlighted the party’s role both as government and opposition. “DPT government built about 5,000 kilometres of roads during its tenure.”

Pema Gyamtsho said some are saying that there are about 7,000 boleros in rural Bhutan, which has been possible because of the result of our government’s work.

PDP president Tshering Tobgay in a recent BBS interview said that his government had built roads in most parts of the country and that those roads had encouraged villagers to buy boleros.

The DPT president said the distribution of electricity and mobile phone services by the DPT government had, directly and indirectly, benefited both the business sector and the people.

The party’s achievement as government, he said, have not only eased services but also generated employment to people. “As opposition, the party only opposed whenever necessary. We supported the government whenever when it came to our national interests.”

Highlighting its policy on central schools, the DPT president said some of the schools opened by his government were being closed because of central schools.

He said the central school policy had to be reviewed although it might not mean closing them.

He vouched on the party’s experience in governance and Parliament. “We have come to you since it is the responsibility of an experienced party to contest the election.”

He emphasised the need to strengthen the economy for employment generation in the country, saying that minor projects would not generate job opportunities.

Pema Gyamtsho also said that when they built the Thimphu TechPark, they were criticised for having built a white elephant. “It’s now one of the main projects generating employment in the country,” he said. “If DPT forms the government, we would ease the availability of timber for people.”

On the way back to Thimphu, the DPT president met with a group of supporters at Jyenkhana Primary School in Samar gewog of Haa. Pema Gyamtsho returned to Thimphu yesterday.

MB Subba