The Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) has cautioned the former education minister, Norbu Wangchuk, for violating election code of conduct.

The commission has written the letter in response to Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s (DNT) allegations against the former minister stating that despite being aware of the election code of conduct, People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) Kanglung-Samkhar-Udzorong candidate’s party coordinators were found hosting meals during a public gathering on July 19.

The letter states that one of the party coordinators, Sonam Dorji, did not comply even after being reminded by the election officials in Trashigang to refrain from such practices.

The commission has reminded the former minister to be mindful of the code of conduct since the elections are nearing and to accordingly impart the rules to the party coordinators to avoid similar incidences in the future.

However, DNT’s general secretary, Tenzin Lekphel, said that the response from the commission against the former minister was ‘meek’.

Tenzin Lekphel said that DNT, after observing the illegal activities of the former minister during a recent visit in his constituency, had reported to the commission.

“We have pointed the mishaps and confusions to the ECB. I personally feel the action taken by the commission was meek,” he said. “We are simply worried that such behaviours from our ministers, if not checked, will become accepted and become a part of the system for the future governments.”

DNT on July 14 had written to the ECB alleging the former education minister of abuse of power and conducting an illegal campaign in his constituency.

The letter alleged that the former minister’s tour that began on July 11 in his constituency was more of a preparation for the upcoming general elections premised on an official visit.

“Besides travelling in government pool vehicle and using accompanying staff from the headquarters and local government officials to facilitate his political activities, lyonpo has also been hosting meals for the people and wooing their support,” DNT’s letter claimed.

The letter also alleged that the former minister was engaging in political activities that included conducting meetings in his constituency and nominating PDP party coordinators.

The letter also mentioned that in 2017, during the national day celebrations in Trashigang, the former minister in the capacity of chief guest had introduced and asked the people of Radhi-Sakteng constituency to support PDP’s candidate for the constituency.

There was no action taken against the minister, the letter claimed.

Meanwhile, the commission’s letter on July 31 to Norbu Wangchuk did not specify all the allegations made by DNT.

A copy of the letter was also sent to all political parties to avoid such incidences in ssfuture.

Younten Tshedup | Trashiyangtse