Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) president Lotay Tshering quotes a Bhutanese saying to drive home the point he has been repeating in all his campaign meetings: “What took a long time to fill in drops, can be spilt in a fraction of a second.”

If people are not careful, what has taken years of careful, studious crafting by the visionary leaders to build the country can be destroyed in a short time.

While it is too early to say there are political divisions in the country, Lotay Tshering feels there are enough signs. “And we must not aggravate them.”

That’s why, he said, his party focused on sending out this message during most of his campaign time in the eastern dzongkhags.

“If we win we’ll ensure there are no biases and we’ll work in a way that 2023 elections are way better than this,” he said.“There is no use of the economic progress the country makes if our people are divided.”

Lotay Tshering said he was satisfied with the campaign he could do.  “Very satisfied, irrespective of the results, I enjoyed this experience beyond doubt, getting to participate and serve the nation in the best of capacity in terms of politics.”

His party, he said, remains confident to win the general round. “But of course, elections are always unpredictable.”

He said even when the party was not confident in the primary round, it was given the mandate. “Now knowing the mood of the electorate, and going by the responses we received specially from a critical mass, which are for change, we are optimistic,” he said.

He said DNT would never be in a more confident situation than today.

However, should his party not form the government, he is absolutely prepared to be in the opposition. To serve the nation, a party need not form the government. “Responsibility is the same on either side of the table,” he said.  “We are prepared to take any mandate.”

The biggest problem in politics, he said, is the ‘must-win’ attitude.

While he has been across the country for the third time to campaign since his familiarisation tour, he said there were no major challenges. “On social media, the anonymous writers have been a disappointment.”

The genuineness of its candidates, its manifesto to narrow the gap, offering change by focusing on rural mass, health and wellbeing to build the nation rather than on economic development alone would be the reasons why his party would win.

“When the country grows richer, we can’t afford a critical mass being left behind or poor.”

Lotay Tshering said that after years of conventional development approaches, social issues such as divorce, rates of school dropout, rural urban migration, and suicide are on the rise.

“These are signs of our society losing the salient characteristics that make us Bhutanese and are obvious indications that we are not on the right path,” he said.

He said the country couldn’t wait until it is rich to take care of the people. The situation today is not terrible, he said, but it is time to rethink.

“I think we are getting some sense of democracy going on the wrong side, which is not healthy for democracy and nation, Lotay Tshering said.  “We’re offering timely change. Let’s change before it is too late.”

Tshering Palden  | Punakha