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For a new beginning

It was an auspicious day yesterday. And it was a busy day too.

With the dawning of the day, we saw the Central Monk Body leave their winter residence, Tashichhodzong for Punakha. Thousands of people lined up the road to bid farewell to the monk body and receive blessings from Zhabdrung’s relics.

It was followed by the Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Leader of the Opposition Party receiving Dakyen from His Majesty The King, officially and symbolically formalising the formation of the third democratically elected Government and the Opposition.

It was also a significant moment, as thousands of people lined up outside offices and homes, until late in the evening to offer their good wishes to the elected leaders and welcome a new Government and Opposition.  As the line of people with khadar in hand waited for their turn, the nation has come together after a hectic election period.

Late in the evening, as people retired to their homes, the social media, until recently full of negativity switched to a happy mode. People congratulated the elected leaders on receiving Dhar from His Majesty The King and wished them a successful tenure under the guidance of His Majesty. The symbol of unity came alive as people appreciated and welcomed the Royal gesture in awarding the orange scarf to the Leader of the Opposition.

There were no big celebrations and we welcome the government’s reaction to not celebrate. It is not time to party given the enormous mandate of governing a country the people placed on their shoulders together with the orange scarfs.  There is work ahead.

We also welcome the new government’s decision to get down to business immediately, although the zakar was a factor. The cabinet met immediately after receiving their Dakyen and the prime minister even had time to meet the media at a press conference. There were no major announcements or tough questions this time, but it was a sign of recognising the importance of media in a democracy.

The Cabinet had made its first decision- they will not take any gifts. All the gifts received would be offered to lhakhangs and goenkhags. It is a good start to a new beginning. Good wishes and khadar will keep coming for the next few days. This is what the new leaders need as they come with the pressure of greatly enhanced expectations. We are already into the sixth month of the 12th Plan.

We know that there is a lot to do. The new government, with a new set of elected leaders could benefit from some fresh perspectives and approaches. It is an opportunity to prove doubters wrong that experience is only one factor in running a country.

The government took office on an auspicious day. The hope is that the dhana (inauspicious month) or the lona (inauspicious year, next year) will not deter the government in fulfilling its responsibilities in serving the King, Country and the People.

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