Unlike other times, the country is seeing some stress on the rule of law and affordability of political promises.
Given the grey areas in dos and don’ts and the chronic issue of funding the country grapples with, the promises our politicians are making have raised several questions from the people.
Some see this as a good start. Others, not quite. What is good is that we have started asking questions. On issues that matter to the people, we expect our politicians to tell them how they would fulfil their promises. Going by the recent discussions, it appears that the need of the Bhutanese people is to drive cars and surf the internet.
These may be what every Bhutanese wants but people expect aspiring parliamentarians to debate on real issues confronting them. Promises of enhanced vehicle quotas sit uneasily with the condition of roads they are plying today to reach the voters and the state of our public transport system. The current state of internet connectivity raises questions on the system’s efficiency than on accessibility.
The on-going constituency debates are meant for people to understand and know their candidates better, to learn their stand on real issues, which for most are local needs. Irrigation and drinking water, pliable roads and bridges top most of the priorities for the people according to the recent housing and census survey findings. But our debates are becoming an exchange of questions that attempt to outdo one another. Promises and statements that candidates are making seem to contradict the party’s stand.
As political rallies gain momentum, promises and allegations are expected to flow faster. Social media feeds are on an overdrive and the two parties contesting to form the government are not mincing words to critique one another’s pledges. The rules state that a political party, candidates and supporters shall confine its constructive criticism or comments to policies and programmes of other parties. The issue of constructive criticism itself has become debatable now.
While attracting much attention in election campaigns, we still do not know the effects of political promises on voting. But politicians are aware that their promises are binding and that people do scrutinise the conduct of our politicians, their relatives and public servants.
The pomp and fracas of political campaigns should remind the people on the importance of their decisions. The people have been given the right to govern and they know that all other rights depend on their right to vote.
Our election process is about the people. Every right in the Constitution is enshrined in the interest of the people and the institutions in place exist to ensure that these rights are not wronged.
It is a national process that requires the participation of each voter for it is said that people get the government they deserve.