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Watch your mouth

Agriculture Minister Yeshey Dorji is known to be an honest man with a good sense of humour. However, his humour, if it was, on Friday was not appreciated.
The opposition party is demanding an apology from the minister on calling the Member of Parliament from Bomdeling-Jamkhar, Dupthob Dorji, and an โ€œMP from Falakata.โ€
Falakata is in neighbouring India where most of Bhutanโ€™s vegetable supply comes from. The slip of the tongue or deliberate attack happened when Dupthob Dorji questioned him on the ban of vegetables from India.
The question hour is a sensitive hour where members question ministers on plans and policies. Quite often, we see members of the ruling government and the opposition lock horns. This happens when members become vocal and bold or when ministers skip questions through vague answers.
The question hour is a good policy. Members should have the opportunity to question the government. Most people also watch the question hour as they expect some drama if not information from the government.
The Friday event was an unfortunate one. The minister had made a blunder for calling Dupthob Dorji a โ€œโ€MP from Falakata. This was not professional. The two parties are ready to attack each other even on related issues often needing the intervention of the Speaker. Calling the MP a โ€œMP from Falakataโ€ was a derogatory remark. MP Dupthob has all the reason to demand an apology.
The question was a relevant one. The ban on the import of chilies is affecting a lot of people, especially those in the lower rung. The people need to know what the government was planning. Making fun of the MP, if it was, is not going to help anyone.
Besides, there are stringent rules that guide members of the parliament. The Rules of Procedure clearly states that members cannot make derogatory remarks. The minister, for whatever reasons, has crossed the line this time. Let us hope that it was a slip of tongue or a joke gone bad in the Assembly.
But apologize, the minister should. There is nothing to lose and the Assembly deliberations can continue โ€“discussing important national issues. The recent incident can be a good lesson for all to watch their mouth when they debate.

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