“Parties may win and lose, but the country is here to stay,” the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) president Pema Gyamtsho said, whose second leg of the campaign began from Haa yesterday. 

He told the supporters of two parties that did not qualify to the general elections to not to feel disappointed because they have a greater role. “The least you can do as a citizen is participate in the elections by casting your votes.”

This, he said, was important but a difficult responsibility because parties come with lot of promises and that it was people’s responsibility to examine whether promises are realistic or are just intended to lure the voters.

People, he said, must decide the future of the country and urged them to question the manifesto of the parties, identify the impacts and its genuineness.

Pema Gyamtsho said that there was a wrong notion spread by the parties that dzongkhags and constituencies represented by ministers would get development priority over others.

“If that is the case, we need 20 ministers to bring balanced development,” he said.

He said both the former prime ministers worked for the wellbeing of the country. He told the people that former Prime Minster Tshering Tobgay did not neglect the east although he was from Haa. “Any individual elected to the post is the Prime Minister of Bhutan,” he added.

He urged the people not to create division in the society along the party lines, ethnicity, and region. “Whichever party comes to power, the country and its people should win.”

Pema Gyamtsho said some parties and international media were politicizing Indo-Bhutan relations. “The Indo-Bhutan relationship is the top priority for any party that comes to power. DPT has long-standing relation with India.”

“It is also not the interest of democracy to undo and stop the ongoing activities initiated by the former government,” he said, adding that whichever government comes to power must solve issues instead of blaming the past government.  “Having formed the government, the party must pave path for the future government.”

Central schools, he said, would continue with small changes in the guideline. Day meal would be provided in other schools too.

Haa, he said, was an important dzongkhag from the point of view of security and that the people of the highlands had bigger role to protect the country borders. DPT, he said, pledged to initiate a special project for the highlanders.

He said that while other party was talking about doing away with class VI exams and cutoff points for class 10, DPT could only afford to give another opportunity to repeat for students of class X and XII.

“We talk about deteriorating quality of education. What would happen if examinations and cutoff points were done away with?” he asked.

Providing allowance for women giving birth may make people happy, he said. “In the long run, however, investments in ensuring better education and employment would prove to be more beneficial.”

DPT has pledged, he said, free wifi in schools, hospitals, gewog centre and dzongkhag. The party would also do away with tax on voucher.

“B-mobile and T-cell already pay the tax for the services and taxing individual people is irrational and was never in line with DPT’s ideology,” he said. “Other than that, we have no freebies to offer but pledge to achieve economic self-reliance in the next seven years.”

Hydropower, he said, was the white gold and that its potential must be reaped. Sunkosh, he said, was ready to be implemented and that in next few years all the ongoing projects would be completed. If DPT came to power, two new projects would be started, he said.

President commended party’s candidate from Sombaykha, Tshewang Rinzin, for his allegiance to the party since 2008.

Bji-Katsho-Eusu candidate, Sonam Tobgay, was young but understood the issues in the villages from close perspective, he said. “If we don’t give opportunity to young, they have no way to prove their worth,” he told the voters.

Pema Gyamtsho said the party had capable candidates and that it would ensure ministers from all the regions.   

Tshering Dorji | Haa