Lekey Dorji to become economic affairs minister, Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa steps down

Reshuffle: In a move to reshuffle his Cabinet, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay has submitted to His Majesty The King for Royal Assent to the appointment of economic affairs minster Norbu Wangchuk as the education minister and Bardo-Trong member of parliament, Lekey Dorji as the economic affairs minister.

Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa will step down as the education minister.

A press release from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) office stated the government has recommended accepting the resignation of Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa.

Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa cited personal reasons and recommended that a younger person be made in charge of the ministry to carry forward the Education Blueprint and the school reform agenda.

“I have resigned purely on the grounds of age and health,” Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa said. He is 64 years old.

Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa said that it has been over a year since he has been requesting the Prime Minister to relieve him of the stressful ministerial job. The minister has requested to vacate the post for someone younger to him.

Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa will serve the rest of his tenure as a MP for the Dewathang-Gomdar constituency in Samdrupjongkhar.

“I am looking forward to serve and concentrate more on my constituency as I would be getting more time for it now,” Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa said.

Lekey Dorji learnt about the decision of the government yesterday after a private meeting with the Prime Minister.

He has been the National Assembly’s Chairperson of the Legislative Committee, Deputy Chair of the House Committee, and a member of the Economic and Private Sector Development Committee.

Lekey Dorji has a MSC in Telecom and BSC in Electrical Engineering from Coventry University, UK and University of Kansas, USA respectively.

Lekey Dorji was left out from the ministerial portfolio despite Prime Minister having publicly announced during the election campaign in 2013 that he would become the information and communications minister if elected considering his background and expertise.

Following his exclusion from the Cabinet the party’s supporters from the dzongkhag alleged the Prime Minister of not keeping his words.

Lekey Dorji is one of the seven candidates, including the National Assembly Speaker Jigme Zangpo, who switched over to PDP from Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa after winning in the primary round election.

Among them, he is the third member to become a minister after the economic affairs minister Norbu Wangchuk and works and human settlement minister Dorji Choden.

MP Lekey Dorji declined to comment on the proposed reshuffle.

Opposition leader Pema Gyamtsho said, “It took me by surprise. I don’t know the reasons or the grounds on which the minister for education has resigned.”

He said that for a senior member of the Cabinet to resign halfway through his tenure, there must be serious reasons since such a move would lead to undermining the trust and confidence of the people in the government.

The opposition leader said he doesn’t question the competence of either the outgoing or the new minister. “I wish them well,” he said.

“I am not sure how the government could pursue its policies and programmes consistently with such frequent reshuffling of its members,” he said over the phone from Chukha.

With the latest proposed reshuffle, the PDP party will be falling back on its promise of having three ministers from the eastern dzongkhags.

Tshering Palden

Additional reporting  by Tempa Wangdi