Elections are a difficult national affair anywhere in the world. As we inch closer to the poll day, this fact is becoming all the more loud and pronounced. For a society that never had to fight for democracy but having come it is upon us to give it a fecund ground to succeed and be an exemplar for the rest of the world, such realities as they come cascading down are difficult to reconcile with.
When party leaders and those who have declared their candidature to represent the electorate in the Parliament from the many constituencies fail to take criticisms in their stride, the show that they are staging is a pathetic one. Because party workers are the most important machinery in elections, their efforts to help the parties win the elections often come in conflict with the laws. The voters, whose support these people are trying to win, deserve better.
In the many weeks since the primary, there have been many reports and complaints made to the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB). To name a few, the case of a Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) party worker in Nganglam allegedly threatening a party worker of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) in a drunken stupor on Thruebab day; of the alleged conversation between a taxi driver and a trucker to throw the president of DNT off the Melongbrak; a DNT candidate from Trongsa trying to instil fear among the voters by bringing in the issue of foreign relations, and recently, DNT’s complaint to the ECB that a party candidate was trying to step into the prerogatives outside of the politics to gain votes, have become the subject of discussion among the electorate.
What will come out of all these is being closely watched.
ECB has been doing a commendable job what with the many distractions and workloads it has been subjected to these many months. At a time when even individuals and institutions that are supposed to be apolitical are being dragged into the game that is increasingly becoming less than pretty by the day, how sensibly and fairly the matters related to elections are dealt with will count.
The success of our democracy hinges on the courage and confidence of the ECB to give the political parties a level playing field. It is the trust the people have in the institution that could suffer the hardest beating otherwise.