Getting right with elections

The Supreme Court (SC) has instructed the Election Commission of Bhutan to defer the thromde and yenlag thromde elections in the remaining dzongkhags. We welcome this intervention, which we believe comes at the right time.

SC has for the first time issued such a writ to the election commission, and it is a vital document that needs to be read well.

Whatever reasons else, the dzongkhag thromde and yenlag thromde elections need to be halted until such a time that there are enough electorate in the dzongkhags. Otherwise, there is the danger of resource waste that could ensue. Election commission will have to spend for the elections in the 20 dzongkhags and the state will have to spend for the institutional set up. Let us not even talk about resource misuse that could happen because some of our towns are yet to take shape.

There is clearly no reason to not tarry the dzongkhag thromde and yenlag thromde elections. What is the hurry anyway? What purpose will it serve by rushing headlong so quick? If we can go slow according to the speed of development, there should be no problem. We could so far handle our development initiatives and projects beyond the centre without having to resort to dzongkhag and yenlag thromde elections.

What is important is that we need to develop the base and to build the sturdiest of foundations. Where there are no towns today, we should plan and create them for the future prosperity and economic development of the dzongkhags outside the capital. That will in fact help us address rural to urban migration, which is one of the pressing problems that we confront today.

To put things into perspective, it is really not about how many towns could have thromde and yenlag thromde elections and how many others couldn’t have. There may be those who see this complication in terms of factionalism or regionalism. But it is really about how sensibly we can use our limited resources.

And from the election commission’s point too, deferring elections is most sensible. When there are no townships and voters to begin with, why the election? Better would be to wait and to go ahead with elections in those towns that are ready for the elections and make preparations for the rest.

Doing so will save us from a lot of uncalled-for troubles in the future.

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