The Sunday debate among the presidents of the four political parties gave audience a feeling that we have altogether lost the real point of the game. If the debate was on the party ideology, we missed it lock, stock and barrel. Heading into the 11th year since the advent of democracy, there is a lot to be desired from the Bhutanese politicians.

To spot a streak of ideology, there has to be one to begin with. We have none to count on our fingers. For the Bhutanese political parties, it is the development priorities – roads and hospitals, schools and education, bridges and hydropower projects, to name but a few. And all these are usually largely and clearly spelt in our five-year plan document.  Our political parties have no hardline isms to identify themselves with. At any rate, not today.

The debate so should have been about the nation’s development priorities. Even there the presidents could have done better. On the contrary, to sum it up warts and all, there was some unconscionable display of immaturity. Rather than telling the electorate how development projects would be initiated, lines were dropped to get on the other’s neck. Only the voters would tell whether the party presidents offered by way of debate to the audience what they wanted.

The existence and proliferation of corruption in the country, featured prominently in the debate. While the party presidents couldn’t lay it on the line who is letting in or where exactly the corruption is taking root, the media was made the scapegoat. One said media must get their mandate right – not to critique government decisions. This argument must be put in the right perspective.  Where was the media? Where is it today? Why is the media seen as the enemy of the government?

Politicians are getting it dangerously wrong.

Media is here to remind the nation to pause and think when the trail is petering out in the dark woods or getting increasingly risky to tread. Democracy will never succeed without free and vibrant media. Let true media do its job – to keep politicians on their toes.

A note to politicians: With what dreams are you taking the nation to the polls?