… will focus on narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor 

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa party presidents said that the party has secured candidates for all the constituencies and that it is ready for the third round of parliamentary elections this year at the party’s general assembly in Thimphu yesterday.

The party members with an overwhelming majority elected Dr Lotay Tshering and Dasho Sherub Gyaltshen as their president and vice president.

Of the 1,155 votes, 1,126 voted for Dr Lotay Tshering and 29 voted against his nomination. The former Dzongkha Development Commission secretary, Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen secured 1,086 yes votes and 72 no votes. There were no other nominations for both the posts.  More than 2,000 people who had travelled from various parts of the country gathered for the meeting.

DNT general secretary Tenzin Lekphel said the seeds of the party’s motto were sown when a few of its founding members discussed the idea of starting a political party much before 2013.

“Since then the party has grown from less than 500 registered members to thousands today,” he said. “This evidently shows that many more have understood and are inspired by our ideology.”

The out-going president Dr Tandi Dorji informed the gathering about the party’s ideology – narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor.

Dr Tandi Dorji said that the party had nothing against the rich but said that more needs to be done to uplift the lives of the poor.

“Besides exploring additional opportunities, we would require the guidance and support of the rich to pull our fellow citizens who face challenges in every aspects of their lives,” he said. “The first two parties have served two terms in both capacities as government and opposition, but disparity continues in income, region and access to services.”

Addressing the gathering after being elected as the party president, Dr Lotay Tshering picked up where his predecessor left on the party’s ideology.

He said that the health facilities need improvement and their reach extended. “Why not have a policy that requires health specialists, likewise even decision makers, take services to the people instead?”

“I have looked into the health policy and several other policies the country has and I believe it is about time we revise some of these policies in keeping with the time and needs of the people,” he said, adding that this was the main reason he joined politics.

He said that the party would also focus on addressing youth issues and unemployment, among others.

“I’m not your candidate of choice if what you wish to hear is me saying that I alone can govern, alone can solve the many issues facing the country and lead the people towards a common vision for the nation. That would be a lie.”

On candidates, Dr Lotay Tshering said that just having an interest in politics is not enough, neither is the ability to speak eloquently, nor wealth. “We need knowledge, good intent for the country’s long term and the acumen to meet these aspirations.”

“If we look up to our Kings then we’d not go wrong any way. After five years, even if I am promised the position of a prime minister, I will humbly decline. Like I said five years is good enough time to make any difference.”

The president also informed the gathering that Dawa, a former news presenter, anchor, and programme host with Bhutan Broadcasting Service is the party’s candidate from Chokhor-Tang constituency, Bumthang.

Among the supporters that had gathered was Dechen Wangmo, a mother of disabled children. Representing four mothers of disabled children, Dechen Wangmo spoke of their expectations from the party to benefit those like their children.

Other speakers included three members, a former Druk Phuensum Tshogpa candidate, Hemant Gurung and two party coordinators, one each of DPT and People’s Democratic Party.

The assembly began with a marchang ceremony and concluded with an offering of zhabten to His Majesty The King. In between office bearers’ speeches, the gathering was shown video clips of His Majesty The King’s national day speech in Haa last year, the theme song of the party, and a short documentary about the newly elected president Dr Lotay Tshering.

“Listening to Dr Lotay Tshering convinced me that DNT is a party worth of trust, and our support,” a former PDP coordinator, TP Humagai said.

Extoling on the virtues of the president-elect, Dasho Sherub Gyaltshen said that he was the most suitable person be it in qualification, maturity or commitment.

In 2013 parliamentary elections, the work and human settlement minister Dorji Choden led the party under the slogan – New Times, New Ideas. The party came third after securing 17 percent of the total votes in the primary round and did not qualify for the general round.


President Dr Lotay Tshering 

The president hails from Dalukha village in Mewang gewog, Thimphu. He completed his MBBS from Dhaka University, Bangladesh in 2001. He then pursued a fellowship in General Urology from Wisconsin Medical College and Hospital, USA in 2007 and obtained fellowship in Endourology, SGH, Singapore and Okayama University, Japan in 2010.

Dr Lotay Tshering also obtained a Master of Business Administration from University of Canberra, Australia in 2014.

He served as a consultant surgeon at JDWNRH and Mongar referral hospitals, and a Consultant Urologist in JDWNRH for about 11 years.

Dr Lotay Tshering was the head of His Majesty’s Kidu Medical Unit between 2014 and 2018.

He was a member of the Society of Surgeons of Bangladesh, Society of International Urology and American Urological Association.

Among the accolades, the DNT president was awarded Father Mackey Gold Medal in 1990 at Sherutse College, the Unsung Hero of Compassion from HH Dalai Lama in 2005 at San Francisco, USA, and His Majesty The King conferred him the Druk Thuksey last year.

Tshering Palden