Thinking beyond party lines

What is happening with our parliamentarians? This is a resounding question on the lips of many watching the joint sitting session yesterday as they once again confused themselves over the thromde issue.

On the table were the two thromdes- Paro’s yenlag thromde and Pemagatshel’s dzongkhag and yenlag thromde approved through a Royal Consent to discuss it again. The two are the only dzongkhags without the thromdes approved by the Parliament.

It’s not clear what is happening, but what is clear is not much is happening in terms of progress on finalizing the thromdes.

Discussions sounded no different from the last session when members went round and round without a concrete solution. For the local leaders watching the proceedings of the Parliament, the issue was not as complex as they made it to appear. The respective Dzongkhag Tshogdus have consulted the people and decided on the thromdes through the democratic process of voting.

But despite a daylong discussion, all they did was advice a special committee to look into the issue again. It was obvious that the reasoning was blurred by other motives.

Soon after the motion was moved to support the proposed thromdes, members jumped to present options. If having a thromde in their constituency can ensure votes, members represented their constituency well. From the discussions, it was apparent that both parties wanted their colleague from the constituency to win. If this was evident, it was confirmed when some members accused of politicising the thromde issue.

It was also clear that the issue would receive the majority vote when put through voting. The results, 28 “ayes” and 31 “nays” confirmed it. Denchi, the Dzongkhag Tshogdu of Pemagatshel was not even discussed fearing a similar deadlock, which was apparent from the nature of the discussions.

There were also confusions that the motion was not from the government and that the government was only submitting a proposal endorsed by the Dzongkhag Tshogdu. This was clear because if it were a government’s motion, it would have secured the required votes to pass it. The DT’s decision, it appears favoured the opposition as the thromdes are in constituencies represented by opposition members.

Disagreement is the beauty of democracy, but only when it is based on reasoning and logic. Disagreeing on party lines or other factors doesn’t reflect well on our elected leaders. Our elected leaders at the local level respected a decision.

The Parliament may have the right to agree or disagree to proposal from local government, but when it is overshadowed by politics and decisions are made along party lines, it leaves room for suspicions among voters in their elected representatives.

The reality is the two dzongkhags need thromdes to prepare for the local government elections. The Constitution mandates it and the government promised it. What people want, even outside the thromdes, is a sound decision from the Parliament.

It would be interesting to see the special committee work late into the night yesterday to come with a recommendation. There should be a final decision today. Members can blame the committee and save their face if they lose the thromde to the other constituency.

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    “Disagreement is the beauty of democracy, but only when it is based on reasoning and logic”…it’s mentioned so in the post. But democracy still remains a bit of a confusing concept and idea when our students leave their schools. Whatever minimal they learn about types of governments and governance as part of political science in social science text books is never adequate to understand functioning in governance through its numerous parts and bodies. Their ideas remain restricted to political leaders, parties and elections that happens. If we allow our school students to watch these parliamentary sessions live, the idea about politics can even head towards a disturbing experience in understanding politics through legislation and policy making.

    We know our problems even as school students of today’s time. Informations have blessed us with great understanding of our problems. But politicised arguments in finding solutions become common sense for our students in understanding democratic politics. This is one factor that makes our students dislike the idea about politics in democracy. Even parents don’t like their children to dig deep into issues only to politicise every possible solutions in hand. But democracy is usually considered highly effective when both leaders and electorates including our students as a future part of it are well educated about governance through legislation and related policy making. That’s where disagreement is the beauty as it brings about the reasoning and logic required for correct legislation and democratic proceedings. But that’s only to my immature understanding.

    We all are hopeful that the joint sessions ahead will find the right solution to this Thromde issue. Good thing is that even we can try to weigh our own reasoning and logic up to match with our leaders as we watch them debate in the house. Even our children, the school students and youth of the country will learn their lessons in reasoning and logic. Disagreement will lead to the logical path towards agreement. Even the Children’s Parliament is bound to educate our youth when their turn comes in the future. Today’s children are the leaders of tomorrow. But I wish that our school syllabus offered a lot more learning opportunities in democracy and governance through legislation as a different subject so that they are well prepared in the future. Media and Press as the fourth pillar in a democracy are always trying to guide the people and especially our children and students to the right path in the unexplained democratic ways.

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