Skip to main content

It is Election time, we are going home

The other day I called my mother at home to find out what’s happening in the local political landscape in our otherwise borderless and harmonious locality. She reported to me who were nominated how and why, and went on to add what she thinks about the outcome of the D-Day.

“Do you think I should come home five years later to participate in the local elections?” I asked her; of course it was accompanied by my all time high sense of humor.

“Oh! You want to be humiliated before the villagers?” was what I got in reply, which was followed by a series of explanations and concerns. “Only then, think of participating.”

She went on tell me how it was unfair for the villagers to have some alien and all promising leaders dropping out of nowhere during the election time. “Where is our choice?”

Election talk is here once again. This time it is about the long overdue local government elections in the country. ECB officials and other stakeholders are already busy preparing for the elections. With a successful conduct of parliamentary elections in 2008, which elected our hon’ble members of parliament, local elections would be a piece of cake both for the officials and the voters. If we talk of numbers, this election would be more challenging, but are we investing as much interest as the parliamentary elections? Come May 24, we would be electing 205 gups, an equal number of mangmis and 1,044 tshogpas and with the election of our local leaders, our transition to democracy is complete according to Election Commission of Bhutan.

Local election is going to be more focused and people are certainly taking precautions not to repeat the same mistake twice. And it is good that parliamentary elections happened three years earlier than the elections of grass-root leaders. Looking at the level of concerns our villagers express in not being able to nominate the tshogpa candidates, certainly our people have realized the importance of local government elections.

It is going to be another showdown of capabilities, experience, qualification and maturity (age). A friend of mine resigned from his job to become a local leader. Clearly, now our farmers have qualified and experienced candidates who are willing to become their servant-cum-leaders. Let’s talk about qualification and experience once again. Does it make sense for a well qualified candidate to compete against experienced incumbents? Is a pass certificate in Functional Literary Test enough? Does it tell us whether an individual is fit to be a leader? Of course that puts benchmarks – that test. I can sure pass the FLT test, but do I have what it takes to be a competent leader?

Experienced and more popular candidates are likely to take the roost.  Incumbents are likely to win this time around provided they are taking part. I see a major clash between experience and qualification. There are also rumors coming from our rural pockets that our people are settling for experience. This means our people have learnt their lessons in a way.

If the way in which our educated lots are taking keen interest in the LG election is anything to go by, Bhutanese people are taking the matter very seriously. It also means that our educated people are willing to leave their comfortable jobs in the towns and cities to be with their rural folks and bring visible change in their locality. But again going back home to contest and promise our people that we are going to do this or build that or construct this or clear that, how would our people react? Will they see it as something out of the blue – say you have woken out of a nightmare and landed in the village? Where were you all these years and why now? How well do you know of our problems because you have spent half your life in towns?

And that goes out to the voters from towns and cities, who are literally ‘forced’ (as we hear from some reliable sources) to go home to vote. How can we, who have remained all our lives in this part of the country, be justified to choose a leader who will serve in the other part of the country? Is it fair for the villagers who would ultimately be dealing with the leaders on a day to day basis? Are we limiting our farmers’ choices of leaders? In that sense, aren’t we being selfish? But not to take part in the local affairs would be nothing far from suicidal negligence. And now the choice is for us either to make our presence felt at home to vote on EVM or help choose leaders for our parents, relatives and fellow-villagers through postal ballots.   

Let’s watch and see. We have exactly one more month from today to bear witness to all these local dramas and testify all these assumptions and propositions. And maybe I can give my mother a satisfying answer next time around.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

We killed our Golden Goose

One of our most significant events this year is that of Bhutan’s exporting of eggs to India. A few years ago, we were importing them – in truckloads. This goes to show that we have the potential to grow and progress as a country, provided we put in a little more effort and work harder. Did you know, Bhutan today has 422,648 hens and produces 251,678 eggs a day? 
In July 2016, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) banned the import of chilies from India reasoning that the laboratory tests conducted confirmed presence of pesticides. And right there was our opportunity to grow on our own. The news was like winning a lottery and it sure was a boon to many a Bhutanese chili growers, as they now had ready market san competition from cheap chilies from across the border.

Then came the ‘off season’. That is when the price of chilies unreasonably shot up as high as Nu. 300-400 per kg. It was unreasonable and daylight robbery, many people protested. And then people took to the …

Can we build energy-efficient houses?

Before we know it, it is winter again! Almost! 
And like all winters this winter will be unforgivingly cold. Of course, some people think winter cold is far less severe than the extreme summer heat the likes of which you experience in Phuentsholing or Gelephu. The reason they give is that while you can dress in cool and warm clothes in winter to beat the cold, the summer heat has almost no solution. Being naked does not help. Fair argument, I must say, but some people who can afford air conditioners in their homes might argue that the answer to the summer heat is in installing the equipment. 
But I think the answers to both the extreme summer heat and unbearable winter cold rest with the energy efficiency of the buildings we live in. 
Rooms in some of our apartments are unusually tall that in order to change a fused electric bulb requires you to literally climb onto two or three tall tables stacked onto each other. It takes three to four solid men or women to hold these tables in place; …

A Vibrant Village

What is a vibrant village? What does it take to create one? Can a village vibrancy prevent and curb rural-urban migration?
A village is vibrant when it has happy and content people. A village is vibrant where content people help each other. A vibrant village is where everyone is involved in or concerned with building a strong community. Such a village is connected with a well-maintained road that provides farmers with access to the outside world. 
A vibrant village grows its food and has no need to import anything from outside. Such a village booms with economic activities and here farmers look beyond subsistence farming. That is not to inject greed; it is rather, to encourage hard-working people to work harder. These farmers have at their service useful and modern farming tools to ease their work on the farms. In a vibrant village, farmers have the right to harvest their crops without having to share them with wild animals. 
A vibrant village has adequate and modern day facilities. Ele…
01 09 10