The former chairperson of the Anti-Corruption Commission, Dasho Neten Zangmo officially registered as a member of the Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) yesterday at Dewathang, Samdrupjongkhar.

She will contest from Dewathang-Gomdar constituency. In a press conference held after the registration ceremony, BKP president, Sonam Tobgay said he has been requesting Dasho Neten Zangmo to join BKP for the last seven years because the party believes she could be a potential leader in the country.

“Dasho may have joined any other political parties but she believes the values, commitments and convictions of BKP,” Sonam Tobgay said. “We are lucky to have a humble and potential person as a member and we welcome Dasho to BKP.”

A press release from the party stated that with democracy as a pressing concern, Dasho Neten Zangmo makes Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party her choice united by common reason to further the cause of every Bhutanese citizen and offer to serve the Bhutanese people as their elected representative without fear or favor, and in the long-term interest of the country, culture, dharma, economy, institutions and the people.

Dasho Neten Zangmo said it is fortunate to have held her registration ceremony under the mango tree her late father had planted.  She said she has worked in villages for about one and half years after her retirement from public service and realised that if one wants to make a difference, one has to be somewhere.

“But more importantly, the reason why I have joined politics is to change people’s mindset. Right now, politicians are looked as thugs, as somebody who cannot be trusted,” she said. “A small country like ours, if we don’t trust our own people, who do we trust? I think that has to change.”

She also said that people today are fearful and becoming disunited and distrustful of each other.  This is another reason for her to join politics, she said. “With that kind of attitude and mentality, somehow, we cannot work as a united nation and we need to build trust among the people on politicians so that there is space for them to voice their feelings without fear,” she said.

BKP is not about five years, but about long-term values and thinking. “I am one person who never compromises on principles and I saw BKP’s principles match mine,” Dasho Neten Zangmo said. “Now is the time to see whether politics really pitches or can be conducted without compromising your principles. With that, I have decided to join BKP and I hope I made a right decision.”

In an earlier interview with Kuensel, Dasho Neten Zangmo had said that she had doubts about joining politics, but just in case she does, she says she will join the right group that has a conviction for people’s needs. “I won’t mind even if I lose the election but I want to set certain standards and tell people and politicians that politics can be good,” she says. “If wining is the motive, a politician may stoop to all sorts of strategies … You see, even if I win by fair means, I am sure people would still say, so joining SJI was a strategy to join politics and win votes.”

BKP’s in a press release stated that inspired by His Majesty’s emphasis on democracy as an important national objective, Dasho Neten Zangmo has taken on herself to champion broad-based and regionally balanced economic development and growth, reinforcing social development through equal opportunities to avoid exclusion and overcome socially divisive disparities while respecting diversity as part of the enabling environment for socio-economic development.

“We champion equitable and sustainable socio-economic development to ensure the physical and mental well being, and are fully committed to eradicating poverty and minimising material deprivation within the next ten years and job creation as an important task that sits high on our priority list, especially for the youth,” the press release stated.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay welcomed Dasho Neten Zangmo for joining the politics. Her decision represents the commitment to the public service.

Dasho was an educationist during her days in Royal Bhutan Polytechnic and Royal Technical Institute in Kharbandi. She last served as the Chairperson to the Anti-Corruption Commission and was recently with the Samdrupjongkhar Initiative (SJI), a civil society organisation.

Kelzang Wangchuk |  Samdrupjongkhar