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.