By-election: Both the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) candidates have stepped up their efforts to win over voters a week ahead of by-election in North Thimphu.

Kessang Wangmo, 26, is the North Thimphu candidate for DPT, and Tshering, 33, for PDP.

The candidates are doing door-to-door campaign rounds.

Kessang Wangmo says that she is “most committed and interested” to serve the nation as a lawmaker to promote “equity and justice and gender balance.”

Highlighting the key achievements of the DPT government, DPT said that people should understand that the November 4 by-election is important and must come out to cast their ballot.

The party claimed that the DPT government built thousands of kilometres of roads to connect almost all villages, connected electricity to over 90 percent of homes and enhanced school enrolment to almost 100 percent. The party said that it supplied buses to schools, achieved almost 100 percent mobile connection, enabled primary health coverage to reach nearly 100 percent, supplied ambulances to every dzongkhag hospital and reduced unemployment level to 2.1percent. It said poverty level was reduced to 12 percent.

According to DPT, Bhutan established relations with over 50 countries and hosted the “most highly successful” SAARC Summit in 2010. At the global level, the party said Bhutan became a role model in the field of environmental conservation and sustainable development.

Kessang Wangmo said that DPT government adopted the “much-acclaimed” Carbon Neutral policy amidst a lot of criticism from certain quarters and enabled Bhutan to play a “prominent role” in promoting human happiness as a universal goal of development. “Bhutan should be proud that the UN declared 20th March as the World Happiness Day.”

Kessang Wangmo said that even as the Opposition, DPT continues to play a very constructive role in the task of nation building. “As all are aware the DPT MPs, given their rich experience, have been taking active part in all the parliamentary debates and committee works to enhance the quality of laws and the overall success of our Parliament.”

She said that the world is of the view that women are underrepresented in public offices, particularly in Parliaments and added that DPT remains committed to ensuring gender balance. “Thimphu with more number of educated electorate must lead the way by supporting woman candidates.”

She said that her party will continue to push to fulfill the pledges made for North Thimphu. “All the infrastructure development works that are being currently implemented for North Thimphu were initiated by the DPT Government.”

She added that it is important the Opposition be strong to prevent the government from making mistakes. “DPT cannot afford to lose a single seat,” she said. “Let me also underscore that one additional member for the ruling party doesn’t make any difference but for the Opposition one member less will be a huge loss.”

PDP’s Tshering wants to re-start the reconstruction works of Lingzhi dzong and pledged to improve mule tracks and build a bridge wherever necessary.

“My priority is to improve the drainage systems in the thromde,” Tshering said and added that his focus will also be on renovating and blacktopping the roads in Kawang gewog.

PDP said that the people have praised the current government’s performance in the constituency even though it was represented by a DPT MP. The PDP claimed that a lot of developmental works were done during the current government’s tenure.

The party claimed that the people of the constituency are appreciative of the government’s performance not only in the North Thimphu but also across the country. The party also takes credit for the blacktopping of the Kabjisa road and Dechencholing and Hejo bridges.

According to PDP, with improved roads and water supply many people who work in government offices and the Thimphu thromde have started residing in Kabjisa and nearby areas.

MB Subba