Neten Dorji 

With only two weeks left for the poll day, people attending the common forum are confused to make a choice with similar pledges of the two candidates. 

Voters in Shongphu gewog said that both parties have pledges that are relevant to farmers and candidates are equally good.   

Voters said it is difficult to choose based on the pledges spelt out in the common forum that they attended yesterday in Bartsham-Shongphu constituency. 

Some said that while People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) priority is improving the economy and focusing on education, Bhutan Trendrel Party (BTP) wants to bring regional development and improve service delivery.  

For them both are important. 

“People’s Democratic Party’s candidate Kinzang Wangdi served as Cabinet Secretary while Bhutan Trendrel Party’s candidate Rinchen Wangdi served as Secretary of Gross National Happiness Commission,” a voter said.  

Voters said that before attending the common forum, they had a party in mind but now they have to weigh the pros and cons before deciding.

A voter, Tashi, 60, said that PDP pledges to increase rural insurance to Nu 150,000 and BTP also pledges to increase rural life insurance from Nu 30,000 to Nu 150,000 at premium of Nu 87 annually. 

People Democratic Party, Kinzang Wangdi pledged to construct a double lane road between Trashigang and Rangjung, initiate Gamri hydropower project, develop tourism, give subsidised housing loans at 4 percent interest, and re-introduce central schools as per requirement.

“If PDP wins, we will study the establishment of an international airport in Trashigang and enhance Yonphula domestic airport  to boost tourism in the east. The local economy will improve,” said Kinzang Wangdi. 

He also pledged to support land management, compensate for the crops damaged by wildlife and natural disaster, interest free loan to buy power tiller, 80 percent loan to buy one utility vehicle and wetland conversion for more profitable land use. 

PDP also pledged to establish a central school for Gongthung and Bidung, chiwog schools with lunch, start dialysis service at Trashigang hospital, and establish a specialist centre at Riserboo.

Bhutan Tendrel Party’s candidate, Rinchen Wangdi pledged to widen the road between Trashigang and Rangjung, blacktop all roads connecting gewogs and chiwogs. 

He pledged to establish Early Childhood Care and Development(ECCD) in each chiwog, continue with two meals for day school, and provide boarding facilities for Galing Primary school. 

BTP pledges to provide chain link fencing, improved irrigation canals, enhance agriculture marketing, land development and management, blacktop all chiwogs roads and provide GSB to all village roads. 

Focusing on the five economic drivers of the economy – agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, energy, and mines and minerals, Rinchen Wangdi said all pledges entail long term benefits. 

“We will initiate a 45 Megawatt Gamrichhu hydropower project and other four hydropower projects in the east which would raise the household income by Nu 3 million annually,” he said. 

Rinchen Wangdi said that BTP pledged to provide a monthly payment of Nu 3,000 monthly to senior citizens above 65 years of age and to persons with disabilities. He also pledged to provide a year-long internship to graduate to gain experience before joining work. 

Voters are well versed with parties and candidates. 

A voter said that she had heard the details in the common forum and she would share with her family members.