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Counting achievements

Political parties and candidates are on a campaign marathon covering as many place as they can in the short campaign period. With them are promises of better roads, water, health facilities, salary revisions and many more, to woo voters.

Politicians, like a voter said, are painting a rosy picture of Bhutan in the next five years with their promises. But even as the big day for the four political parties and the electorate near, there are questions being asked. Some parties and candidates are put in awkward situations as the electorate corner them on their promises and experiences. They even doubt if Bhutan could achieve so much in the next five years that it has not for decades.

As a developing country, we are still building roads, bridges, hospital, taking public institutions to the dzongkhags and drungkhags. We are still facing shortage of water, both drinking and irrigation, food, health facility and jobs. There are still plenty to do. Political parties know this. They would want to appear convincing to the people. If they can deliver, it is good for the people and the country.

Bhutan has always followed a cautious approach to development. The view politicians give people is that we are in haste and forgetting the caution that has been our guide. With elected governments now in charge of our developments, there is a new pressure. Their achievements are judged at the end of the five years. Politicians have to show this to the people. Sometimes in the rush, we seem to make mistakes. 

Having exposed to the culture of promises, the electorate are aware and wonder if we are biting more than we chew. In Gelephu, people are wondering why a drungkhag office inaugurated a month ago has not opened its doors. There is already an “accident’ reported that led to an important machine, recently inaugurated, not functioning. And in Tsirang, the already inaugurated 40 or 20-bed hospital is still being completed. Some are starting to feel that the inaugurations were rushed to add to the list of achievements.

Governments will come and go, but these public institutions built with aid money will remain to cater to the people notwithstanding which party they voted. There will be many development activities in the next government’s term. We will see the government build more farm roads, urban infrastructure, highways, irrigation channels, hospital and many more.

The past experience or mistakes could be a good caution to not build only roads, but pliable roads, not only irrigation channels, but channels with water and not only hospitals, but hospitals with equipment and manpower. 

We have always been appreciated for the cautionary approach to development. As the political momentum picks up, this could serve as a good reminder to plan our progress. 

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