Amidst the hurly-burly of recent developments around the new Home Minister’s post, the Prime Minister (PM) as of last week received six nominations but did not reveal the names.
However, sources from the National Assembly (NA) indicated five male and one lone female candidate who forms the cohort of what observers have dubbed as the ‘Perfect Six’.The PM initially received nine names but three of the candidates backed-off themselves.
Although the entire and final prerogative to appoint a minister from the serving MPs under the ruling government rests upon the Prime Minister (PM), an informal procedure has been followed where all serving MPs nominated a candidate of their own and submitted to the PM.
Apart from MP Dawa and Kinley Wangchuk, Nganglam MP Karma Dorji, Lamgong-Wangchang MP Ugyen Tshering, Gangzur-Minjey MP KingaPenjor, and the lone woman candidate, Mongar MP Karma Lhamo formed the ‘Perfect Six’, according to most Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) supporters.
Nyamrup party members and people this paper talked to hinted towards a neck to neck tie between Choekhhor-Tang Member of Parliament (MP) Dawa and Athang-Thedtsho MP Kinley Wangchuk.
While Karma Dorji is one of the party’s founding members, Karma Lhamo holds immense experience having been in the political frame since the first democratic elections in 2008.
Lamgong-Wangchang MP Ugyen Tshering, who also served as a National Council (NC) MP, and Gangzur-Minjey MP KingaPenjor are said to be equally vocal, responsive and capable to fill the shoes of former Home Minister Dasho Sherab Gyeltshen.
“Perspectives will differ from one individual to another. I don’t know what is inside the PM’s mind but I would honestly subscribe with MP Dawa for the post,” said an ex-army officer from Paro.
A 38 year-old DNT supporter from Punakha shared that he could foresee MP Kinley Wangchuk in a minister’s portfolio in the near future. “So why not now?” he asks.
People this paper talked to also shared that they are longing to see another woman in a minister’s portfolio in the Cabinet. There are currently five MPs in the parliament under the ruling government. However, the Cabinet has only one female in Health Minister Dasho Dechen Wangmo.
“In a developing society stressing upon women empowerment and gender equality, I would wish to see another one or two woman in a minister’s portfolio,” an official from the National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC) said.
“It will be nice to see one of the female MPs taking charge of the Home Ministry. There is no doubt they can handle it as good as the others,” 45 year-old Sangay Choden from Phuentsholing said.
Different people from different constituencies across the country are religiously trying to explain and out-smart each other on how eligible and efficient their MPs are to fill the void.
While Nyamrup party members and supporters alike are busy speculating, electorates outside the DNT ring said that they would accept any serving MP as the home minister, provided they don’t get lured into corruption.
The home minister’s post has remained vacant since May this year, when the former home minister Dasho Sherub Gyeltshen tendered his resignation after being convicted of a false vehicle insurance claim.
The PM has since then only announced that any serving DNT MPs can be the next home minister. No developments have taken place within the political ring; instead Bhutanese electorates are rooting for their respective MPs to be sworn in as the next home minister.
While lauding the capabilities of the seasoned MPs within the party, Lyonchhoen earlier said that equal opportunity should also be given to the newly elected MPs of Nganglam and Mongar constituencies, who are just as well experienced, deserving and responsible to take care of a ministry.
There are also talks in town that disagreements between the party members have stirred uncertainties which are delaying the appointment of the home minister.
“We heard that because of disagreements, candidates are being appointed and removed, and are also being put to test whether they could handle a ministry or not,” a keen political observer said.
There are also informal reports that the party (DNT) had identified performers and non-performers among the Cabinet members.
Shoving aside false speculations,Lyonchhoen said that there is nothing as such happening within the party domains. “The party members have done their part and all of them have asked me to decide on my own and make the choice,” he reiterated.
Meanwhile, there are no clear written norms for the appointment of a minister in Bhutan. It is followed as per the Constitution which states that His Majesty the King can appoint a minister upon the recommendation of the PM.