With the campaign period for the primary round of elections nearing completion, political parties and the presidents are on the run to cover as many dzongkhags as possible. 

Around 3:10pm yesterday, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa president, Lotay Tshering, was rushing for Paro after wrapping up his meeting with the people of Kawang gewog in Thimphu. 

With less than an hour for the next meeting in Paro, the president whished to talk to Kuensel in his car. 

The president said that given the limited time provided for the election campaign, it was important to give people of all 47 constituencies equal opportunity to hear the party’s ideology.  

“I don’t know about other presidents but I don’t want to leave any constituencies untouched or unreached,” said Lotay Tshering. “It is more of a psychological warfare and I don’t want to let any section of the population feel less important. I want to cover all 47 constituencies in these limited days so that’s why the rush.”

DNT flagged off its campaign from Punakha on August 23 and will conclude the session on September 13 in Dagana. 

On an average, the party conducts about three meetings a day that beings around 8:30am and concludes by 6pm. Lotay Tshering however, said that once in a while due to the shortage of time, the party after requesting the local returning officers extends the time in some the meetings.   

“Besides the physical challenge involved, I’m very happy with the response during the meetings. People are very receptive,” said the president. He added that in the last 10 years, Bhutanese have become conscious politically and shared that they would like to come and listen, understand and then exercise their franchise.   

“As a new political party, we are very happy with the change in common mindset. But there are a few places which are obviously, politically motivated and politically engineered where the crowd is significantly low,” said Lotay Tshering. “This is the biggest challenge we face from the so called politically active people, the middlemen. There are forces in between that stop public from attending the meetings.”

He said that while everyone wants to come and listen to all the parties in the campaign meetings, there are party workers especially from the dominant parties who stop people from attending such meetings. 

The president said that the ‘middlemen who are politically active are driven by money. “If money is out of the equation, I would say 2018 is DNT’s year,” he said adding that accusations from fake accounts on social media forums are also a big challenge.  

While the money factor playing a crucial role in the upcoming elections is obvious, he said that his party has no time and interest to hunt down the people and parties involved. “I leave it up to the moral standards of the politicians on this matter,” the president said. 

DNT, he said, is inspired to win when some parties are putting in everything to avoid loosing. “As the election draws nearer, you get little tensed. My only wish is for a genuine party to win, and at the larger interest, the nation and Bhutanese should win.”

Younten Tshedup