Self-reliance does not mean abridging the country’s relation and dependence on India, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) president clarified during his campaign meeting in Samtengang, Wangdue, yesterday.

Pema Gyamtsho said that the party’s pursuit is for Indo-Bhutan relation that is inter-dependent.

He said the country needs the government of India’s assistance to build mega hydropower projects. With more such projects, the revenue from the export of electricity would multiply and the country would be able to finance its expenditure.

On the other hand, he said Bhutan’s electricity could be used to run more industries and light more homes in India, at a cheaper cost.

“False words are going round that should DPT come to power, India would be upset and prices of goods imported from India would double,” he said.

Fuel price rise, he said is used against the party when all parts of India are crying foul over the fuel price in their own soil. “This is because the INR has depreciated against USD and India also imports fuel from other countries,” he added.

He reiterated that the country’s foreign policy should not be politicised. If people come to villages and create panic in the society using the country’s foreign relations, Pema Gyamtsho urged the people to report to the authorities. He said this in reference to a case, where the Nubi-Tangsibji DNT candidate was fined and warned.

The president said the word underprivileged or nyamchung,is abused by the parties. “Circumstances during our parents’ time were different. Today there are none who cannot afford to carry a mobile phone, no household who doesn’t have a television, rice cooker and so on,” he said adding that yet parties are promising freebies. “People must discipline the parties,” he said. “Our country is not for five years and long term pledges are crucial.”

DPT government, he said provided road, electricity and telecommunication network. This, he said is to provide an opportunity to everyone and how well people could capitalise on it depends on individual capacity.

He also spoke on the DNT ‘s claim that they are definite to form the government and east would have no ministers if the party did not win any seats from the east.

“This is divisive politics and it is wrong,” he said. “If they are sure to win, why are we campaigning? People have not decided yet,” he said adding that no government to date has neglected constituencies that are won by the Opposition.

The DPT president also campaigned in Samtse on October 5 and 6, where he met over a thousand people in six gewogs.

Introducing his party as “Chawra party,” he pledged a college in Samtse. DPT, he said will establish five colleges around the country and that one could be in Tendu or Bara.

He said cardamom alone is not enough a cash crop to rely on. While the GDG could be used to process and package cardamom, Samtse, he said, could increase coffee cultivation, which has more export potential.

GDG, if DPT comes to power would not be used for regular activities that are in the Plan or for construction of road and other infrastructure. It would be meant for social welfare and economic projects to enhance the happiness level in the community. “If two households among ten in the village are disadvantaged, do not have proper shelter, we are not a caring and loving society,” he said.

He said DPT cannot build hospitals in all the gewogs and neither is it needed but the party, if given the mandate would equip all BHU’s with a doctor and services like X-ray and ultrasound. “If everyone of us fall sick every now and, then we might need a hospital in each gewog,” he said in Lhotshamkha, in which he delivered his whole speech. “More than that, we must invest in preventing diseases.”

After campaigning in Nyisho-sephu, the president met the people of Nubi-Tangsibji in Trongsa yesterday.

Tshering Dorji | Wangdue