There is some urgency in the upcoming thromde elections. The election of thrompons and his team is scheduled for January 25. There are only six days for interested candidates to file their nominations before they start campaigning for a month.

As of now, nobody seems to be bothered about the elections. Incumbent thrompons are wondering if they would have any competitors. With the Election Commission of Bhutan announcing the election dates for the three thromdes of Thimphu, Gelephu and Phuentsholing, we can expect some names by next week.

It would play into their hands if they go for a “yes” or “no” votes. Not to deride the candidature of the incumbent thrompons, we cannot subject such an important post to a “yes” and “no” votes. The post of a thrompon has become most important given the rate of urbanization and more so because of our bad planning.

If Thimphu thromde is expanding and seeing a sea change every year, other thromdes, once called Class B thromdes, are seeing new development or waiting for one. Looking at our towns today, urbanization is supposed to be the trend of the future. That is why we need good municipal systems and good urban leaders to put them in place.

What we want today is people with vision, expertise and experience in developing our town and cities keeping in line with our development philosophy. We need people to challenge ideas and visions for the betterment of our thromdes. Going by the lukewarm interest, unless we can expect surprises in the last minute, there is something wrong.

We can take comfort in the belief that Bhutanese likes to keep it till the last minute. Save for a lone candidate in Gelephu, no one has come forward declaring their intentions. That too only when media pressed hard. It is also our habit to wait for others to do first. In the old days, interested candidates would expect the people in the village or gewog to nominate them. A lot has changed and this trick will not work anymore.

In the meantime, they have lost valuable time. In declaring their interests, they could actually know their chances or where they stand when people talk and media discuss about them. Smart politicians would use the media to gauge their chances.

Meanwhile, we have 17 more thrompons and numerous thuemis to be elected. It will not be long after the first phase of the local government elections. Our parliamentarians have fought tooth and nail for having 20 thromdes to ensure balanced development, among others.

The 20 thrompons and his team are expected to play an important role of stopping the rural-urban drift by developing urban amenities and creating opportunities in the dzongkhags. We need good leaders to do that. For that we need people to judge their leaders and know them well.

We cannot afford to elect thrompons just because the law mandates it or just because someone sees the post as a top job opportunity.