Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa: The first of the new political parties to be heard of to contest the 2013 elections, Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa, was also probably the last to submit its application for registration with the election commission. One of the founding members of the party, Dr Tandi Dorji, during a press conference yesterday following submission of their application, said they had submitted to the election commission names of its 15 members, who, he claimed, were, “ready to contest even tomorrow”.
That, of the remaining 17 or 18 others, he said, they continued working in their respective places, and would resign as soon as the party was registered with the commission. The party president, elected by the founding members, Jigme Zangpo, added their names would have accompanied those of the first 15, had it not been for the stringent civil service rules. “I’m also responsible for that,” he said. “I was in the RCSC myself once.”
At the press conference, party members also said they had close to 150 members registered with the party from across 20 dzongkhags and 47 constituencies. With regards to it being probably the last to apply for registration, Dr Tandi Dorji said forming political parties was a serious undertaking, where they had to mull over serving and taking care of some 700,000 people in the country.
“A party must find its confidence and strength within itself,” he said. “It must be prepared to take the responsibility, if given the mandate to serve the country.” Over the last two years, he said, they had visited and spoken to people from the country’s 20 districts, after gaining whose confidence, the 27 founding members decided on November 15, that they were indeed ready to take up the mandate of forming a political party.
“So, within this last one month, we’ve put together all our documentation as ECB required, and within the rules it set,” Dr Tandi Dorji said. “If we‘d rushed, we may not have done justice to ourselves, and the people we intend to serve.” Political parties, Jigme Zangpo said, had to last for generations and, that it was not about filling up forms and submitting them and setting out to become one.
Should the party be registered with the election commission, the first thing that is up their sleeves is to invite all party supporters, candidates and members from across the dzongkhags and the various constituencies for an annual general convention. “Within that, the first agenda would be to elect democratically, a political leader,” Jigme Zangpo said. “I’m just a president until the registration formalities are completed.”
He added, once that was done, they would have to float the party vision and strategy papers. “Thereon, we’re ready to contest,” he said. Dr Tandi Dorji added the office bearers of the party today were those elected by the 27 founding members of the party. During the convention, he said, the party would vote and elect office bearers, and that the party president and its members might be the same or new ones, depending on whom the party members endorsed. “It’s not necessarily that the leader of the party, however, is the prime ministerial candidate,” he said.
In the meantime, while the party awaits election commission’s response, its members said they were planning a retreat, where its candidates, members, professionals and supporters would close in on preparing their draft manifesto and developing their strategies. “This one week is critical for us to show the party its road map, and something that we’ll present our worthy voters, if we’re registered,” Jigme Zangpo said.