Leader of Opposition on tour of the dzongkhags

Visit: The Opposition Leader, (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho, expressed concern about the extent of gossip and rumours that made the rounds during the second parliamentary elections, during an interaction with civil servants and local government officials in Samdrupjongkhar, yesterday.

The opposition leader is currently in the east where he is attempting to learn the ground realities of policy implementation and acquire public feedback. He has so far visited seven dzongkhags.

However, he said besides the two purposes, it was also important that he cleared all the rumours that spread during the last elections.

“Rumours are the biggest fear in a small country like ours,” he said.

The opposition leader pointed out that there are different religions, culture, languages and people, which can cause differences between the people.

“We’re a constitutional democratic country and instead of thinking about rumours,  think about sovereignty, peace and pray for our soon to be born Royal Heir, instead of thinking of which party you will support next or which party members to support,” Pema Gyamtsho said.

The opposition leader also shared His Majesty The King’s advice to him before he travelled east.

“It is His Majesty’s advice that to be a successful country, among many, we should always keep in mind that harmony, peace and unity is very important,” (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said.

The opposition leader also said it is very important to stop such misunderstandings between politicians and people in a democratic country.

He also pointed out that many civil servants have the wrong idea that their personal relationships with party members are being seen as relations with the party itself. He added that there is also a wrong notion among civil servants that not supporting the government would result in repercussions, and by supporting it, quick promotions and choice over transfers would follow.

“If we keep fearing about all these then this would not be called a democratic country,” (Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said. “It is also wrong to fear something will happen to you for supporting the opposition party.”

Because of such fears, he said, there are many civil servants including secretaries and directors who are reluctant to make decisions despite having the right to. “They fear if they take any decisions, it would be scrutinized by ACC, audit or members of parliament,” he said. “Instead they form committees to make decisions, in which members will not be available for the meeting, or one thing or the other, they will keep delaying the decisions which is why activities get delayed.”

(Dr) Pema Gyamtsho also spoke about the roles of the opposition party, which includes making recommendations, giving alternative views on policy making. He said the opposition’s role is not to stop the government from implementing activities.

“To have a ruling party and opposition party is the system in any democratic country and both are important,” he said. “As much as they have rights in making policy or enacting or amending laws and Acts, we have similar rights too,” he added. “Don’t get the wrong idea that the opposition party works secretly.”

(Dr) Pema Gyamtsho said many have the wrong idea that opposition members cannot do anything no matter how much they raise the issue in parliament. He said the opposition would continue to work hard to bring to the government’s attention, proposed laws or policies that may adversely affect the public. He provided a few recent examples such as the electric vehicle, BoIC, and the BBIN motor vehicle agreement.

The opposition leader will be meeting the people of Nganglam today.

Yangchen C Rinzin,  Samdrupjongkhar