With the PDP declared victorious having secured a clear majority to form the next government, Delhi is making concession to resume the “special friendship” with Tshering Tobgay’s government. Already assured of the continued assistance for the 11th plan, Tshering Tobgay is sure to make his first official visit to Delhi, as invited by the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh.
Tshering Tobgay is much more progressive and smart in his intellect, recollects one foreign journalist who met Tshering Tobgay some years ago in Bhutan. Yes, Tshering Tobgay came from a common ground of Haa having not much of the aristocratic décor like that of JYT or Yeshey Zimba or even a Lhotshamp, Mr. Om Pradhan.
His voice, reflected in his blog, against ill-intended legislation like the Tobacco control act, Pedestrian day or the Right to Information bill, the land scam are some value added milestones in his political career, as smallest opposition.
Now, it is the time for PDP to mend the fences. India’s media have sufficiently portrayed a strained relationship between Bhutan and India, just at the time of election, as if to give a threatening blow to DPT and its boss, Jigmi Y Thinley. The result came as desired. Never before Indian media had hyped this relationship so much and raised issue of subsidy or Chukha tariff, although petroleum price hikes did take place.
The timing of the events is too precariously coincided that JYT is subjected to scrutiny by all educated voters. Indian media broadcasting the PLA camps in Bhutan, phasing out of subsidy on LPG and kerosene and reversing the Chukha tariff agreement are some tactics used by India during election which made the Indo-Bhutan relation turn sour even further. Therefore the new PDP government has the ball in their court to ease out this strained Indio-Bhutan relation as well as keep a balance with China in protecting Bhutan’s sovereignty.
At the same time, there are promises to keep that Tshering Tobgay spelled out during his campaign. The idea of emergency helicopters, investing more on health care, the census and citizenship issue in the south are what he tried to cash on his voters. The bridge over Maukhola (mistaken to be Mao-khola) was in the hit list of debate in the former parliament, while MP Prem Kumar Gurung was a total loser in this game.
Tshering Tobgay has the challenge to keep equidistant from the two giant neighbors, draw up a better foreign policy for Bhutan and realize the precepts of GNH pillars for all sections of Bhutanese population if the motto of wangtse chirphel is what he meant.