Thukten Zangpo

The common forum for North-Thimphu constituency in Thimthrom at Changangkha Middle Secondary School yesterday drew a disappointing crowd.

Only half a dozen of residents came to listen to Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidates vying for their support in upcoming general elections.

A participant said that most of the Thimthrom residents run businesses and were likely too busy to attend.

Opening the floor, PDP’s candidate, Tshering expressed his gratitude for supporting his party in the primary election.

He then focused on the country’s ailing economy, weakened by the Covid-19 pandemic. Tshering announced the party’s plan to mobilise Nu 15 billion as economic stimulus plan (ESP) to immediately fix the economy. “This stimulus plan will revive the economy in the next 5-6 months.”

Citing the PDP’s past experience as the government, he said that the party’s success in revitalising the economy with Nu 5 billion in 2013 during a time of rupee shortage and limited access to finance.

He also expressed plans to increase the number of tourist arrivals to 300,000 tourists annually.

For Thimphu, Tshering promised to provide 24/7 clean and safe drinking water, better road maintenance, especially with improved internal road network, installation of more CCTVs, more disabled-friendly footpaths, vehicle parking issues, and development of new recreational parks.

At the same time, he also pledged to review the high parking fees, rationalise property tax (land and building), increase life insurance from Nu 30,000 to Nu 150,000 for rural residents, access to loans by increasing Loan-to-value (LTV) mortgage ratio from 70 percent to 95 percent, and reduce interest rate to 4 percent.

Tshering claimed that voters recognise only the PDP can improve the country’s current situation, and electing from North-Thimphu would allow to address numerous issues.

The BTP’s candidate, Sonam Penjor said that most of the parties’ pledges are similar, which includes providing life insurance of up to Nu 150,000, installing street lights and CCTVs.

However, he said that looking at the past precedence from 2008 elections onwards, the people have opted for a new party as government.

“BTP as a party is new, however, the BTP will serve the nation with loyalty and integrity,” Sonam Penjor said.

He assured voters that the party have experienced and qualified candidates, including his ministerial candidate, if the BTP wins the election.

The common forum for North-Thimphu at Tagsidthang ends today. North- Thimphu has 7,607 registered voters.