MB Subba

Even as the fourth parliamentary elections are approaching, uncertainties loom large among party members on whether or not Bhutan Kuen-Nyam Party (BKP) will participate in the elections.

One of the main challenges, party members say, is the lack of state funding for election campaigns as the party failed to secure 10 percent of the total votes cast in the 2018 primaries.

The other major issue is uncertainty over who would lead the party in the elections, they say. BKP has not elected its president since its former president Dasho Neten Zangmo tendered her resignation in November 2018.

However, the party’s vice president, Sonam Tobgay, said that BKP was a registered political party and that it was looking forward to the 2023-24 parliamentary elections.

“BKP is an independent political party and has not merged with any party or going-to-be party nor has any intention. We will strive on our own terms and values,” he said.

However, he did not substantiate his claims. Sources said that there were no activities being carried out in preparation for the upcoming elections that are about 18 months away.

Sources within the party said that the party had remained inactive for quite some time. It was learnt that given the challenges, members in a recent meeting proposed for dissolution of the party.

While the other registered political parties are identifying candidates, BKP has remained largely silent.

Some of the former candidates of BKP are in negotiations with other existing parties to join as their candidates, sources in the political circle said.

BKP is one of the four registered political parties in the country.

However, there will be only three parties contesting the 2023 elections if BKP opts out of the race and Druk Thuendrel Tshogpa (DTT) does not succeed in its attempts to get itself registered with the election commission.

One of the office bearers of DTT said that the party had fulfilled all the requirements as per the Election Act. However, the election commission has applied “high standards” for registration of the party, it was learnt.

“Given that we have fulfilled the requirements and submitted all the documents, we think our party will be registered,” he said, adding that the DTT was awaiting a response from the election commission.

It has been more than two months since the party submitted its registration documents on May 27.

The secretary general of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Kuenga Tashi, said that the party had selected all 47 candidates. “We are ready for the election,” he said.

Likewise, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) in June declared its candidate for the Tashicholing constituency, Namgay. DPT officials said that it has identified almost all the candidates.

The present government will complete its term in November next year.