The former labour ministry chief statistical officer feels he’s the right man for the job
Drametse-Ngatshang Constituency, Mongar: A statistician, with the reputation of being quite a talker, has declared his intention to contest the 2013 general elections from Drametse-Ngatshang constituency, Mongar, as a candidate with the People’s Democratic Party.
Karma Lhendup, 33, who recently resigned as the chief statistical officer with the labour ministry, said he chose PDP because he likes and agrees with their philosophy of decentralisation.
“People are looking for alternatives and I want to give them that,” said Karma Lhendup, who has a bachelor’s degree in statistics from Tamil Nadu and a master’s in development economics from the national graduate institute for policy studies (GRIPS) in Tokyo, Japan.
Now, after nine years and a month as a civil servant, Karma Lhendup says it’s the right time for him to make the leap. “I believe that becoming an elected leader is the only way, where one can fully utilise one’s skills and knowledge, if you know how to use the mandate people have given you,” he said. “Even in the civil service, there’s only so much you can do, because you have limited authority.”
Karma Lhendup said that as a lawmaker he would push for bringing reforms to the executive (civil service) and the judiciary, who nowadays are doing things to suit themselves. “Once that’s done, everything will fall into place,” he said.
He also said that, with his background in economics and statistics, he would take decisions and initiate change, based on research and wisdom, as opposed to the anecdotal decisions of today.
“I feel I’ll win and I’ve also done a statistical projection of how people in my constituency might vote,” he said. According to his estimate, his constituency should have about 13,000 voters. Karma Lhendup will be up against DPT’s Ugyen Wangdi, who the constituency voted for in the 2008 election, assuming that the party comes through the primary round, if there is one.
The divorcee said that he would have joined politics in 2008, but then the scholarship came along, and he went off to Japan to do his two-and-a-half years master’s. “I felt I needed to upgrade my qualification,” he said.
But this scholarship offered through the government is posing a problem for his political goals, because civil service rules require civil servants to serve twice the duration of the training programme. He still has at least 18 months to serve to fulfill the bond, but elections are only a few months away.
“Even if it means selling of my phaazhi (ancestral inheritance), I’ll do that to take the political process forward,” he said.
By Phuntsho Wangdi