Druk Thuksey recipient Dr Lotay Tshering has said he is ready to lead Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) as the party president if members support him.

The party is preparing to call a general convention next month, where a new set of office bearers will be elected.

According to a DNT official, the party’s search for a new president has narrowed down to Dr Lotay Tshering after the Managing Director of Druk Green Power Corporation, Dasho Chhewang Rinzin, who the party was requesting to join, received a contract extension.

If elected, Dr Lotay Tshering will lead the party in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

In an interview with Kuensel, Dr Lotay Tshering said, “If I am given the mandate, I’m ready to take the leadership role as an additional responsibility in the party.” However, he added that it would depend on the support of party members.

Dr Tandi Dorji is the party’s president today.

Articulating the ideology of his party, Dr Lotay Tshering said that the party wanted to see the gap between rich and poor closed. “We want to talk only what we can walk,” he said, adding that the present trend of promising beyond what could be delivered was not only setting a wrong precedent but is also harmful for the country.

He said that although it was too early at the moment to preempt a victory, the party stands a good chance.

“I’m physically in the hospital 15 to 16 hours conducting surgeries and treating patients, and at the same time thinking for the country,” he said. The surgeon says he does not receive money for his service from any agency.

However, he said that he was not using his profession to gain political mileage. “Although I hear that I’m giving my service to garner votes, I don’t get deterred,” he said.

Dr Lotay Tshering said that he joined politics out of sheer interest and passion. He paid Nu 6.2 million in training obligation to the government to resign from the civil service and join politics in 2013.

“If it was not for my passion and urge to serve the country at a different level, I would not have resigned by paying such a big amount,” he said.

He says that it was his interest to work at the policy level that prompted him to leave his medical profession. “As a doctor, I can only address the problems of individual patients. We can fix systemic problems only at the policy level,” he said.

Economic problems, the quality of education and geopolitical concerns, he said were some of the issues facing the country.

“We may not have immediate answers to all the problems that our country is facing today but it’s important to identify and acknowledge them so that they can be solved in the long-run,” Dr Lotay Tshering said.

He said Bhutan today stood at a political crossroad and that there was a possibility of the two established parties running the country for a long time to come if a third party does not win the primaries. In such a case, he said democracy would not flourish.

He was of the view that the two oldest parties would only get stronger in future elections if third parties fail to win this time.

The possibility of formation of political dynasties, he said, was also a concern. New parties must win and that need not be necessarily DNT, he said.

Dr Lotay Tshering said it was good that Bhutan had His Majesty The King for guidance.

He said His Majesty’s visions for the country were long-term compared to that of political parties. But he added that short-term visions should not override national interests.

He received a Druk Thuksey at the National Day celebrations in Haa last year.

MB Subba