Of Campaign and Pledges

With the campaign period at its heights, the two political parties contesting for the general round of election are leaving no stones unturned to woo voters. In the process, what seemed like a smooth campaign and election process has come across some hurdles. The informal campaigning on the social media had put some candidates in trouble and there are accusations flung at each other. Recently, a trending issue in the social media is the president of the Druk Nyramrup Tshogpa trying to convince people how the election campaign is getting wrong. The president, in languages people can relate to, is saying that political parties
should campaign on their manifestos and not criticize the manifestos or pledges of other parties. This comes after parties are questioning, and questioning hard, each other’s manifestos and pledges during the debate. Whether it is right or wrong will be left to the Election Commission of Bhutan to judge, but as voters around the country wait to decide whom to vote for, questioning and debate is what we need.

If democracy is about electing a political party, it has to be elected by informed voters. For voters to make informed decisions, people need to know the manifestos and pledges of parties in detail- more than what they say at common forums or informal forums. Parties should question and criticize manifestos or pledges. The average voter has no forum or opportunity to question the candidate or the party. When political parties ask tough questions to each other, people get to know the parties better. As long as candidate or parties are not mudslinging or getting personal, questions should be raised on their stand. If a candidate or a party asks the other how the pledges would be fulfilled, it is the responsibility of the other to explain. Through explaining, he will get a chance to convince the voters. They should not take the questions as getting at the party ornegative campaign.

With two parties campaigning on a lot of pledges that appeal to the voters, it is their responsibility to also explain how it would be fulfilled. Once a party becomes the government, all eyes will be on them. We believe that the parties are pledging all sorts of things because they believe they can fulfill them. If so, there is nothing wrong in explaining them to the voters.

If the pledges are practical and real, the questions should be taken as an opportunity to convince voters and not as attacking each other.

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