- BNS Analysis
Nobody wanted to talk about politics and political parties in Bhutan few years ago, fearing that it would be against the Tsa-Wa-Sum. Now, political parties are led by those who had already served as loyal civil servants of Royal Government of Bhutan, the very personals who remained tight-lipped during the period of political crisis throughout the decade of nineties. Some of the individuals who represented DPT in 2008 election and got to the power-seats had even served the Royal Bhutan Army, the body that never wanted anybody talk about government and politics.
The second round of the election campaign is appearing to be more participatory and issue oriented, although the campaigning and reaching out to the most needy and voiceless will not be accomplished this time too for various geographical, climatic and time factor. Pre-monsoon rain is pouring heavily in all parts, the geographical or spatial arrangement of the constituencies are unfavorable for maximizing the people’s participation, motorable roads are still the limitation for travel to a common point of campaigning etc.
However, something more trivial is becoming the issue of election campaign this time. The home ministry (do not know who is the head) has laid down some ethical conducts for the local and district administrative heads when DPT president visits in their area for the campaigning. It is about the type of “tea”, the manner of reception and accompanying president for the night stay. In a way Jigme Y Thinley is being mirrored not simply the president of a party, but the whole country. This is sheer nonsense and utter shame on the part of ministry to have developed such code to treat or not treat any party heads that are in election campaign.
The other contradiction and not following ‘practice what you preach’ is the involvement of district administrative heads like Dzongda or Dzongrab or Dungpa in the reception of DPT president JYT. If civil servants are not to be involved in politics or refrain from assisting any party during election campaign, why JYT got them in his campaign? Keeping civil servants away from politicking is the best ever idea for Bhutan to maintain the sanctity of service to the people, but powerful ones should not exploit them whenever needed.
In most cases of the party meetings, more specifically, the meeting of DPT president with the people is like a manager and laborers of a company reprimanded for not doing good work. The DPT panel is seen seated in high chairs upon a decorated dais, while the voters are seated cross-legged on the floor, bowing down little while the DPT panel talks. This is not showing respect, albeit it is a feudalism and neo-slavery system, Bhutanese electorate are hypnotized to practice.
In the common forum aired by BBS, the party leaders did not actually talk about the visions and political philosophy of the respective parties rather went to some emotional deliberations.
In a nutshell, the Bhutanese political parties are just novice to be competent for the grooming of party workers and are likely to get swayed away easily by the glib talk of those in power. There is much dependence on the Monarchy for accomplishing what they can mobilize and realize. The party leaders are to struggle through a much uphill task in order to get a status in the regional political dialogue on issues of South Asia. Any way spoon-feeding has to be stopped.