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DPT campaign starts from “historical” dzongkhag

The party has chosen to begin, like it did the last time around, from the heartland

Just as the party did in 2008, Druk Phuensum Tshogpa kicked off their campaign from Trongsa yesterday.

The party president Jigmi Y Thinley said they believed it was “good” and the right thing to start from a historic place like Trongsa.

Lying in the heart of the country, he said the place was where monarchy and, with that, the institution of governance, started from.

It was for the same reasons that the party had opted to start their campaigning from Trongsa five years ago.

Before the campaign speech, Jigmi Y Thinley thanked the people for trusting him with the responsibility of the country.  He also asked for forgiveness for the shortfalls, if there were any, although “they tried very hard”.

He said, for the DPT government, one of the biggest achievements was in bringing about “equality”.

“When we started off, out of 100 people, 23 didn’t have enough to make ends meet,” he said. “Now, it has been reduced to 12 out of 100 people, despite our aim being 15.”

He said their target was to bring poverty rate down to five percent in next five years.

In the next five years, he said DPT would try to make the country independent in terms of economy, without having to depend on other countries, while also working on solving rupee problem.

“We’ll make that happen through trade and industry, hydro-power and tourism, among others,” he said. “There are more problems in rural areas, because most people set off for urban areas to work, leaving fields barren and families behind.”

DPT’s hope was to make rural areas prosperous, so that women were not left behind with their children and fallow fields.  They are hoping to make it possible, by promoting agriculture through usage of quality seeds, farm roads and machineries.

The president also pledged to double the number of tourist arrivals, which will not only benefit tour companies but also the rural areas.

“We can encourage tourists by explaining to them the historic places of our country and their importance,” Jigmi Y Thinley said. “We assure you our full support in this. You can build guest houses for tourists, while we train you on cleanliness and maintenance.”

While working parents with problems of babysitters would have daycare centres in offices, the bus and air fares for senior citizens would discounted by 50 percent, along with separate seats for them in public buses.

The president also said they’ve successfully achieved most of the tenth plan activities, with financial support from India.

“There have been rumours that India and Bhutan aren’t getting along, which is not true,” he said, adding the two countries shared very good relations.

He said friendship with China did not “worry” India as speculated.  Instead, they were supportive.

While reminding people to avoid disputes for smooth election process, he also took the opportunity to explain that people should know the logos of the parties well.

This time, he said, if people wanted to vote for crane, they should know that there was another party that had a bird on their logo.

“Go to all the campaigns and study the candidates and parties well,” he said, concluding by committing to “serve people again”.

The president also carried out another campaign in Bumthang in the evening yesterday, where he had interacted with people in local dialect.

By Sonam Choden, Trongsa

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