For those who know him, he is a workaholic, passionate social worker, and a sensitive man. To many, he is a lifesaver.
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa president Lotay Tshering fits any superlative one can use to describe a man.
Many a voter who attends his meetings these days come to greet him and shake hands to thank him for giving them a new life. Many say they are well today because of Lotay Tshering.
Some come with fruits, others with the best wishes for the election.
Lotay Tshering who comes from Dalukha village in Mewang gewog in Thimphu went to bed with his phone fully charge prepared to get calls for duty at any time of the night.
He had been an early bird to work and returned home when everyone has gone to sleep as he and his team treat patients referred from distant parts of the country and comfort families attending them.
The president always has his doctor character in him. He touches people on the slight indication of illness no matter the place or time even during his campaign or walk around town or school.
Born to a humble family, he displayed a strong interest in studies through his schooling days in Punakha High School, in Sherubtse, and went on to obtain an MBBS and general surgery from Dhaka University, Bangladesh.
Lotay Tshering excelled in his studies and bagged the much-coveted Father William Mackey Gold Medal for academic excellence in 1991 in Sherubtse.
Married to a doctor, he has a daughter.
He was awarded the heart son of Bhutan medal (Druk Thuksey) last year for his selfless service to the sick and weak. He also holds the Unsung Heroes medal from Dalai Lama in 2005.
After his dismal debut in politics in 2013, the first civil servant to resign to join politics that year, he volunteered his services at the national referral hospital. He had numerous offers but held on determined to give it another shot.
He paid about Nu 6.2 million to the government to retire from the civil service for politics in 2013.
The urologist then went to obtain an MBA degree from Canberra University despite operating with his team at the national referral hospital for more than 12 hours.
He served more than 20 years as a consultant surgeon at Mongar regional referral hospital, and later as an urologist at the JDWNRH.
It was during his tenure in Mongar hospital that he adopted two children, a girl and a boy, both from Chali in Mongar. The girl is today a nun and the boy is studying at Royal Thimphu College.
The man is an inspiration to his candidates some of whom are vegetarian like him. His commitment, hard work, honesty, and vision invigorate them to push the boundaries further putting in more effort.
Is he perfect? No. His weakness is that he cannot veil his emotions. One look on his face and you know his emotions. During a meeting in Mongar recently talking about some anonymous person insulting him –calling him a liar on social media in public – he choked claiming he has an allergy to falsehood and lies.
He also has a sense of humour. During meetings when phones ring or children cry, he throws a quick line such as “you can answer that because I know you are voting for us or you are not a voter yet,” – dispelling the tension and uneasiness such interruptions create among the crowd.
He carries his prayer beads and prays once he starts the journey in the car or when he is not answering calls.He doesn’t differentiate among his patients.
It is said that he would keep his father waiting in the queue to avail medical check-up at his chamber. Although he has no medical kit with him during the campaign he condoles with the sick and gives his ready advice.
For those who wrong him, his only message is that in the final analysis, it is between you and god. It was never between him and them, the bottom line from one of his favourite poems – ‘Do It Anyway by Mother Teresa’.
Tshering Palden | Zhemgang