Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) consecutively winning in parliamentary election, in 2008 and 2013 and last primary round from all three constituencies in Pemagatshel cannot be called as political identity, according to people.
Political identity refers to a specific political party affiliation or any individual associated to particular group expressing specific political opinions or attitudes. For many voters in Pemagatshel, favoring one party is not political identity but simply a voting decision.
DPT candidate of Nanong Shumar, Lungten Namgyel, said that people are now politically aware which party or candidate to vote. “DPT had served as ruling party in 2008 and as opposition in 2013. People of Pemagatshel understood well about the policy of the political party and all people like DPT’s vision ‘equity and justice.’’ He also said that people examine the aim and potential of party president besides judging party manifesto and candidates’ potential. “However, it may be wrong to term this as political identity just because Pemagatshel support DPT,” said Lungten Namgyel. He also said that the past political process may not have been fair and now people have developed faith towards DPT to whom they owe gratitude.
Sangay Phuntsho from Shali village in Shumar gewog said that it’s important to understand the party’s ideology and whether the party is capable to fulfill their pledges. He said, “There is no association with any party or no one is looking for one’s own family or relative rather they vote after judging party manifestos.” “Therefore, it’s wrong that people doubt that DPT’s stronghold in Pemagatshel is political identity,’’ he added.
DPT gewog coordinator, Tashi Phuntsho said that he had no knowledge about party and president in 2008. Later party presidents and candidates came to explain the pledges where people could understand little about politics. He was happy to see first democratic elected Prime Minister from Pemagatshel. He also said that people were happy to see DPT in election race in 2013 with their same party vision and mission, ‘equity and justice’.
Tashi Phuntsho said that now his concern is some people trying to influence people’s mindset asking for change. He said, “People have understood well about election and there is no need to tell them to choose a party.”
Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) candidate of Nanong Shumar, Pema Wangda said that villagers think that they should hold loyalty to DPT. He said that DNT’s pledges are for the poor and hope it will change the mindset of people. “I hope there will be a change if voting is done based on candidates,” he said.
DNT dzongkhag coordinator from Nanong Shumar, Dorji Gyeltshen said that it’s important to see party manifestos before deciding. He said, “I saw DNT manifesto is good but can’t understand why people can’t change their mindset.”
DNT supporter from Nanong Shumar, Pema Gyeltshen said that it was difficult for the people of Pemagatshel to change. He said that if DNT becomes ruling party and DPT wins from Pemagatshel, people should understand the difference between ruling and opposition.” He said that he had even requested for civil servants to work for the change.
DPT candidate of Khar Yurung constituency, Tshering Chhoden said that Pemagatshel on the dark spot of development before 2008 without proper road and development in other sectors. She said, “DPT brought development. Thanks to the people for their loyalty but it’s not political identity.’’ She added that public is aware of politics and they vote for the party who can fulfill the mission of His Majesty to achieve Gross National Happiness. “If DPT’s stronghold is described as political identity in Pemagatshel, what will we call for other regions where DPT got lesser votes?’’
Khar Yurung DPT coordinator, Sangay Norbu said that by name itself DPT looks deserving. He said that DPT delivered their pledges constructing roads, connecting electricity and mobile. Dupchu Zangmo from Khar Yurung said, “It’s one’s right bestowed by the Constitution and we cannot tell people to vote for a particular party.’’ She said that whichever party is conducive with the policy, people will vote for that party.
Defending that it’s not political identity, Nganglam DPT candidate Choida Jamtsho said that DPT got elected as the party had good vision and mission which are very beneficial to the country and people. He added that as a ruling party, DPT have started seven programs under the pursuit of progress with ‘equity and justice’ to create harmonious and happy society. “Programs like road, electricity, mobile connectivity, safe drinking water, education, health, agriculture and livestock etc, were brought to the people,” he said. “DPT’s stronghold in Pemagatshel is credit for the party for doing what is right, not whatis popular’ but cannot be posited as political identity.”
DPT coordinator of Norbugang said DPT has the experience both as ruling and opposition and even there are many tasks to be continued which was started during their period and didn’t continue by last government.”
Khorde Choezang from Chokhorling gewog said, “As a coordinator, we support the party but don’t force the public to vote.’’ He said that people understand the importance of listening to parties’ manifesto and they attend all party meeting.
DNT candidate of Nganglam, Karma Dorji said that DPT has a stronghold in Pemagatshel and their candidates are strong. He also said that when present candidate of Khar Yurung Tshering Chhoden was from People’s Democratic Party (PDP), she got lesser votes but now she got more votes. He said, “DNT’s manifesto 100% best for the Pemagatshelpa being the second poorest country.”
Dorji Wangchuk from Norbugang gewog said that if given the chance, DNT will bring changes to the dzongkhag through development. Not calling it a political identity, he said that it was not good to vote based on region. “It seems there are wrong information spreading through many communication channels.”
By Sangay Rabten