Electioneering running high in Bhutan

The electioneering in Bhutan has become the topic of discussion as the election nears, despite large majority of the people are waiting for monsoon to start their farming.

The political parties continue to announce their candidates, many of them coming from bureaucratic background.

DPT, PDP, BKP and DNT will be contesting the election scheduled for autumn of this year. Most parties have now revealed their candidacies and information campaign has almost begun.

PDP, the ruling party has come under fire following the revelation that it groped many senior government employees to run as its candidate. Many of these candidates were promised candidacy long before they resigned from their post. Many argued that such arrangements provided the candidates to visit their promised constituencies and influence voters early on.

Kinzang Wangdi (former cabinet secretary), Tshering Dorji (former foreign secretary), Lungten Dorji (former director general of the department of local governance), Sonam Rinchen (former Trongsa Chief District Officer), Harka S Tamang (former Zhemgang Chief District Officer), Dorji Norbu (former director general of National Library), Sonam Tshering, (former Gelephu Sub-divisional officer), Tashi Tobgay (former Registrar of Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences), Sonam Dendup (former Thimphu City Bus Director), Karma Dukpa (former principal of Yangchenphu High School), Chandra Bdr Mongar (former assistant Auditor General) and Gem Tshering (Managing Director of Bhutan Power Corporation) are some of the senior government officers joining the ruling party PDP.

The ruling party has also replaced most candidates from southern districts, fearing it may face similar backlash like DPT faced in 2013. The political consciousness in southern district is key factor for the parties to become conscious on choosing candidates.

In 2013, all repeating candidates of DPT had lost the southern districts. Further, the issue of statelessness, more freedom to connect with their relatives now resettled in western democracies and opening up southern Bhutan for foreign investments and tourism dominate the discourses.

In both elections in past, parties had promised liberalising the grip in southern districts but failed to materialise. The failure means, the south may look for an alternative force that gives more space to their demands.

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