From the recent issue of ministers taking with them Prado Land Cruisers to Rupee shortage and youth unemployment, the second debate discussed them all.
Save for Druk Chirwang Tshogpa, which was represented by its president, vice presidents represented the rest of the three political parties.
Held at the Royal Academy for Performing Arts hall, it was all about party manifestos and the many promises that never materialised.
It was the party members, including former ministers and party workers of the four political parties that filled up the hall.
Breaking the floor, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa representative Dr Pema Gyamtsho emphasised how they served for the last five years based on the philosophy of Gross National Happiness and equity and justice.
For any development activities to be pursued in the 11th plan, he said roads would play a vital role but added that the topography of the country was the biggest challenge.
He then commented briefly on the construction of roads in the earlier plan, augmenting exports for self-reliance, issues related to youth, women and culture.
The next speaker was People’s Democratic Party representative Damcho Dorji, who spoke about empowering the local government.
If elected, he said, the party would bring down poverty rate to six percent, strengthen the media and Anti-Corruption Commission and establish thromdes in every dzongkhag.
He touched on improving the education system, providing education loans and providing housing allowance for civil servants.
Then came the lone woman representative, Druk Chirwang Tshogpa president Lily Wangchhuk, who said democracy could be strengthened only through people’s participation of consultation.
If the party forms the government, she said it would fight corruption, strengthen media and frame suitable laws for them.
She pledged the party would revive the lottery operations, improve health, education and solve problems related to youth and women.
The last speaker, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa’s Dr Tandin Dorji said since the country ushered in democracy, the time was now for fresh ideas and approaches.
He spoke about the country’s economy, inflation, debts and income gaps.
Following that, during the question and answer session Dr Tandin Dorji said it was annoying to see the country accumulate huge debts within just five years.
In response Dr Pema Gyamtsho said every country had debt because without it any economic developments was difficult.
Clarifying on why the former ministers didn’t return their vehicles (Prado), Dr Pema Gyamtsho said it was a gift.
The question to PDP’s Damchoe Dorji was how despite initial opposition, they accepted the Constitutional Development Grant (CDG).
Damcho Dorji clarified they never said CGD went against the Constitution but that there were chances of this happening.
“If we had not accepted the grant it would have deprived the people in our constituencies of their rightful share,” he said.
In the five-minute closing remark, all four speakers stressed on their manifestoes.
While Dr Pema Gyamtsho spoke on rural prosperity, urban development, agriculture and benefits for civil servants, Damcho Dorji talked on women related issues, Rupee shortage and youth employment.
Lily Wangchhuk spoke on agriculture, benefits for the religious community and policies, while Dr Tandin Dorji assured his party would address problems of economy, Rupee shortage and economic developments in the local government.
By Tshering Wangdi