The parties dying out


Nov 19: The political parties, the only two currently operating legally in the country, are on the verge of collapse due to decreasing number of membership. 

Though the party membership had risen during the election time, the two parties DPT and PDP are now facing a shrinking of party numbers, with some members resigning and most not renewing membership.

The ruling party at the peak hours of elections had 12,197 registered members. The number has now dropped to 2,393 members. And that of opposition party PDP, membership is down to 800 from 8,000.

Only around 200 people have renewed their membership with DPT while those of DPT renewing their membership are around 100. 

The black days for PDP started with its founding president Sangay Ngedup resigning along with then party secretary Lam Kezang, 16 candidates and 20 other senior party leaders. 

Similarly, DPT has seen 183 party members resign, including three istrict coordinators from Pemagatshel, Paro and Trongsa.

The parties have not been able to operate their district level offices. Single person nominated as party representative and using their personal house as party office in district, are no more in place. The cause of these district coordinators leaving party is virtually the because of the party activities in the district and lack of fund in party treasury to pay them monthly salary. 

This has raised questions on the parties’ survival. Both parties are in debt and the only three permissible sources of revenue are party membership registration fee, annual membership renewal fee and donations, mainly from members.

The restrictive membership and donation rules made it very difficult for parties to live. Though the government had decided to donate some money from the national treasury to pay the debt for once, it failed to get materialized. Even the ruling party parliamentarians do not contribute to the party funds.

Money is needed if offices around the country are to function and the officer bearers paid. Both parties are in debt and have still not been able to repay bills, loans and advances that were taken during the run up to the election. The candidates themselves spent millions over and above party spending and campaign funds provided by the election commission.

With absolute majority for the ruling party, it is speculative but possible that in the next general elections, there could be only one party in the field with opposition party leaving it virtually.