With the primary round poll day of the fourth National Assembly elections round the corner and many still in the process of deciding their postal ballots, this is crucial time to know what is on the table, and analyse the long term pros and cons for the country.

It could be difficult sometimes to see beyond immediate benefits. Benefits of sponsored rides to the constituency to vote, few talk time or data recharges, some booze at a big hotel in the towns, a pair of gold toes or expensive textile as candidates turn up at homes and villages promising fruitful relationships. We need to vote out against candidates or parties engaging in such cheap selfserving tactics.

Before casting our votes, it is crucial to delve beyond personal gains and scrutinise the parties vying for our support. In this era of information abundance, it is our responsibility to be discerning and demand more from those who seek to lead.

We must educate ourselves on the key issues that resonate with our community and the nation at large. Beyond the glitz of political campaigns, there are critical matters that will shape our future—be it healthcare, education, the environment, or economic policies. A party’s stance on these issues should be transparent, well-articulated, and aligned with the values that we hold dear. We have to demand concrete plans, not just rhetoric. What we need to know and for them to elaborate is how they are going to deliver them.

It is imperative to assess how a party’s policies will impact society as a whole. While self-interest is a natural instinct, a thriving democracy requires us to rise above our individual needs and consider the greater good. Evaluate whether the proposed policies foster inclusivity, address inequality, and promote the well-being of all citizens. A party that prioritises the common good over narrow interests is one that truly serves the people.

Judging a party goes beyond assessing promises; it involves scrutinising their track record and the character of their leadership.

We must be wary of divisive tactics that seek to exploit differences rather than fostering unity. Evaluate how a party addresses diversity and inclusivity, and whether their rhetoric promotes a harmonious society. A party that seeks to unite rather than divide is more likely to create a resilient and flourishing nation.

We also need to check and keep our CID or VPIC cards. If it is missing, get it printed from the gewog or the dzongkhag election office at the earliest. Having voted in almost a dozen national elections to date, it should occur to us naturally to confirm the polling booths before the poll day.

Let this election be a testament to the informed and empowered electorate that stands for a future built on justice, shared prosperity and progress.