Why DPT lost to PDP?


Whether people of Bhutan looked for a real change or not, the change of a ruling party has been brought about in the second election.  How efficient will the new government be able to fulfill all its promises remains a test of time. Whether people understand the values of democracy or not, the process seems to show some kind of improvement in the exercise of voting rights looking at the change brought about following several caches during the campaign.  People seem to show their strength of understanding the values of democracy.  When the first election took place in 2008 and PDP lost fatally limiting it to two seats, gossip mongers had several reasons to tell about the background of the party.

Tshering Tobgay and Jigmi Y Thinley

Sources from various constituencies said Sangye Nidup was 4th king’s brother- in-law who actually structured and headed the People’s Democratic Party in its initial foundation period. But, when the king’s father-in-law’s relationship with people worsened  due to his lust for materialistic desires, the king wanted JYT to form the first government of infant democracy.  Moreover, the members of PDP were mostly amateurs while DPT was manned with virtuoso former ministers, ready to continue what was left at the time of transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy. The king rested his confidence in the DPT and hence the landslide victory by JYT party.

This time, the PDP’s victory has different unpublished stories hidden in the fabric of grassroots level of common mass who unwillingly voted for PDP thereby turning down DPT.  Sources requesting anonymity reveal:

  1. All the votes from armed forces and their families were based on the directives of their officers who had specific briefings from the two kings.  The postal ballots from the armed forces too were carefully prepared on royal command received by respective company officers.
  2. Ex. Police Superintendent of Police Rinchen Thinley and former Royal Advisory Councilor Sangye Wangdi, upon directives from the palace had visited the house of Ngatshang Gup on the morning of July 4 where aspiring voters were collected and briefed to vote for PDP only.  On the same day in the afternoon, accompanied by TV Cable contractor Tenzin of Mongar, the former police SP Rinchen Thinley called upon Gyaltshen, Sangye Jamtsho and former MP Aum Sonam under Saleng Geog to brief them on the directives to vote for PDP.  The duo was caught lecturing people of Chhali on July 5.  On the night of the same day at 10pm, they were detained by Mongar police on the allegation of misguiding voters to convert their aspirations towards PDP.  However, they were released when it was understood that they were actually royal emissaries sent for the mission of guiding voters into voting for PDP.  In spite of all the efforts, the DPT bagged all the votes from Mongar because they could not brainwash major sections of the voters who were committed to the DPT and had faith and trust in the party.
  3. The 5th king had personally assured people in the south that census and citizenship problems will be solved giving No. 1 census status to all those who have the issue unresolved.
  4. When India questioned 4th king about JYT’s relationship with China, the king had convinced India that it was totally JYT’s personal interest and assured that Bhutan will always remain dependent and the closest friend to India.
  5. Indo-Bhutan Trade Protocol for subsidy grants expired on June 30, 2013.  So, India proposed Bhutan to renew the agreement on subsidy on LPG gas and petrol. However, 4th king is believed to have told India to wait until new government is formed after the election. The king acceded to the lifting of LPG gas subsidy, left to be renewed by the new government.
  6. In the context of regionalization of Bhutanese politics, the PDP supporters in the western region have begun to antagonize Sharchhokps claiming PDP as the Ngalong parties.  People began to talk about DPT’s sure to get out of the ground. At the very grass roots level of people’s consciousness, they feel that the king has played a game that influenced the people of Sharchhokp region all over from indirectly coercing them not to vote for DPT.

According to confirmed sources from Bhutan, DPT’s 500 members from the east and 1500 from the regions of North, South and Central Bhutan have converged into the capital city of Thimphu to congregate on July 17, 2013 to deliberate on the undemocratic and coerced voting in the election process.  These cohort of DPT members feel that the party should not play  opposition in the parliament.

The congregation is anticipated to bring about the following major issues of national concern:

  1. Bhutan is geo-politically and physically squeezed between the two giant nations of equal nuclear power on earth.  In this context, China blames Bhutan of keeping Indian military along Bhutan-China borders whereby China frequently antagonizes Bhutan by not cooperating on border talks. Therefore, in order to maintain good relationship with the north, India should be asked to remove their army from our northern borders.
  2. Once Indian military vacates our frontiers in the north, our trade relationship with India, which prevails since time immemorial shall continue based on our requirement.

If there is any truth or reality in these stories, there is fear that the democracy in Bhutan is duped in the name of change through maneuvered election process by giving boost to the party that is chosen not by the people, but by the palace.

 [Editor’s note: The author resides in Thimphu, and has wished to remain anonymous]


  1. If the above report be true that palace played pro-active role in uniting the people of Bhutan, it is a welcome move for stability.
    The point No.3 above makes the King and Royalty dear to the ordinary victims of politics that want to breathe the sigh of relief after suffering two decades of strong repression.
    A great hurdle is removed from the way of Bhutanese polity by this exercise. Justice to the weary citizens and stability to the nation should take greater priority above the very unstable nature of democracy and democratic process among handful of the Bhutanese. Bhutan was on the way to Socialist Republic otherwise.
    If the 4th King resorted to this method in the late 80s and early 90s, Bhutan would have been much ahead now in many respects.