Friday, July 26, 2013

My Felicitations To PDP And The New Cabinet

As I had said in one of my earlier posts, I was in a dilemma as to how to appropriately word my  बधाइयां  - to the winning candidates of the 2013 elections - without rubbing salt to injury. The PDP will form the next government - but I doubt that the taste of victory is as sweet as it would have been - had they been allowed the opportunity to win the elections - based on their own merits. Deep down, they cannot help but feel a sense of hollowness - because their victory has been served to them on a platter. In all fairness, no one should doubt that the PDP could have won the elections on the strength of their own worth but the blatant show of hand by the government of India must surely leave a bitter after-taste.

Regardless of what happened, the election results are out and there is no reversing it. The PDP will form the next government and they will direct the affairs of the country for the next five years. Therefore, it is time that we move forward and not be marooned in the quagmire of hurt and resentment. Thus, I would like to offer them my felicitations with the following salutations:

चुनाव जीतने के लिए चुने जाने पर बधाई!
(Congratulations on being chosen to win the elections!)

I would also like to wish the VERY BEST OF LUCK TO THE NEW CABINET comprising of the following Ministers who will most likely receive their Namzha and Pata tomorrow from His Majesty the King.

I have only one regret - the cabinet has no representation from my Dzongkhag. Thus, as in the past, I suspect that Khengrig Ngyamsum will continue to be neglected.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The "Acho" Factor

On my earlier post titled “A Political Coup Without Parallel!” dated June 17, 2013, I had wondered:

“What is the possibility of an “Acho” factor behind one or some of our political parties?”

Developments since then have confirmed beyond doubt that my fears were not unfounded. It turns out that there was/is indeed an Acho’s hand behind the outcome of our elections.

To be frank, I am glad that the Acho is the same old Acho from the south. This is an Acho we have lived with for the past more than five decades - we are pretty much familiar with their idiosyncrasies, their curry smell and their shinny sleek hair greased with coconut oil. I believe that this Acho is a more pliable beast to go to bed with. In all probability it will rape us in broad daylight - as it is doing now with the hydro-power projects - yet it is unlikely to fatally stab us in the back. I have been, and still remain grateful, for their hand in our development programs. Some of my very best friends are from the land of our bungling Acho.

However, my worry now is that I hope this does not become a standard bad habit among our political parties - that of acquiring Achos to win elections.What is the possibility that the next election will not see the emergence of yet another Acho - one that is currently watching from the shadows with raised eyebrows? - the lumbering hulk of an Acho - one from the North?

I am disturbed by what Sunanda K. Datta-Ray, perhaps the most authoritative Bhutan watcher and commentator, writes:

“If one bunch of Bhutanese politicians leans towards India, another is bound to lean towards China. Given the fragility of Sino-Indian relations, this polarization is not in Bhutan’s interest. It is even less in India’s interest for the Bhutanese to have to face such a choice”.

The full text of Mr. Datta-Ray’s writing is available at:

NOTE: “Acho” is the Bhutanese equivalent of “Sugar Daddy” in the Western concept.

Monday, July 22, 2013

New Delhi Announces Bhutan 2013 Election Results

Bhutan’s 2013 General Elections was hijacked by India. When that became apparent to me, I withdrew my participation in the electoral process by refusing to cast my vote on the polling day. I came to the conclusion that whichever way people voted, the result would be the same. I wanted no part of it and made my stand clear through my post on this Blog titled “2013 General Elections: India is Victorious”.

Twenty-eight readers commented - most of them accused me of being pro-DPT. There was nothing useful about those comments and thus, I refused to post them - except for one, which had been already posted, and it would have been rude to delete it.

I believe that the result of the 2013 General Elections was decided and manipulated in New Delhi - months, if not years, before our election process began. Someone else - a reader of the BBS website too seem to have understood this. He/she commented; “In this election we were looking for a new Prime Minister - instead we ended up getting a Chief Minister”. Not the exact words but something on those lines.

New Delhi already knew the outcome of the elections. That is evident from the following letter of felicitation sent by the Indian Prime Minister to the PDP President. Dr. Man Mohan Singh had already announced Bhutan’s election results on the 13th of July, 2013 when our own Election Commission could finish compiling the results and announce it only a day later - on the 14th July, 2013.

I am currently going through a dilemma - I have not been able to congratulate a single winning candidate or offer my sympathies to the losing ones. For the life of me, I cannot decide how to phrase my words?

Congratulations on your win? – NOT TRUE!

My sympathies on your loss? – NOT TRUE BY A LONG SHOT!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Not a drop of even a cent in Chhukha revenue, assures V.P. Haran

I thought that the BBS had misquoted the Indian Ambassador. Upon playing the video clip ( that was posted underneath the news article, I realized that he had been quoted verbatim. There is no mistake.

So, Ambassador Haran, can we hear it once more, please? This time without the slip-up, if it was not intended.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

2013 General Elections: India is Victorious

Few would have been as passionate as me - in the electoral process that began in April and ended yesterday. But at the end, for me, it all came to naught - because I choose not to cast my vote yesterday - the polling day of the 2013 General Elections. The party I support may have lost one vote - my vote - but I am a happy man nonetheless - because I will not be carrying the burden of guilt on my conscience - for the part I would have played in the election’s final outcome, had I cast my vote. Years from now, when the history of our democracy will be written, I do not want posterity to record me as one among hundreds of thousands who participated in this darkest of dark elections.

Elections are held primarily to offer the people an opportunity to exercise their fundamental right to vote and, through that process, to elect a government of their choice. Sadly though, towards the final days to the run up to the polling day, it became clear to me that the 2013 General Elections wasn’t going to be about the free and fair exercise of the will of the people of Bhutan. Thus, as of 1st July, I decided to stop writing anything related to elections.

This election belonged to India. And they won.

But there are some who tell me that India’s win is Bhutanese people’s win. That the party India preferred was victorious would mean that India would no longer twist our arms into surrender and subservience. That India will double and triple their aid money to us, that they will reinstate the subsidies that have been withdrawn; that they will increase the power tariff that is currently under negotiation. That they will give us Boleros, helicopters, farm tractors and that they will inject billions into our banks to revive and reinvigorate commercial lending to businesses and industries and aspiring car owners. That the Indian Rupee shortage would be a thing of the past!

All that promise of plenty is certainly tempting and surely some of us have been tempted. Whether it is worth pawning off our souls in return - for another five years - is a decision that seems to be out of our hands. Others have already made that decision on our behalf. Now let us wait and see if India will deliver all that they have promised. The world will be our witness.

For the moment, let us give the benefit of doubt to the doomsday soothsayers.

For the benefit of my overseas readers, I am happy to upload the following 2013 General Election Results. The 15 constituencies where the DPT won is marked in yellow.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

No Further Posts Untill After Elections

As of day-before-yesterday, I have stopped posting any articles on my Blog. There have been a number of comments on a few of my posts but I am sorry that I am not going to post them either. There is no point.

As I have said in a number of my posts in the past, I express my views through my writings because I believe that they are useful and beneficial for the country and the people of Bhutan. However, in recent times, information available through the print media, through the social media and through the on-going election Common Forums - as well as through information that I know but are, as yet, not common knowledge - it seems that whatever I do or anyone else does, it is unlikely to make a difference. Thus, I am not going to express any further views on this Blog. I will begin to post articles once the elections are over. Until then, please bear with me.

I hope that my readers will understand that even remaining silent can be an act of obeisance to the ultimate goal - that of serving the Tsa Wa Sum.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Bhutan's Road to Democracy: II

The Indian reporter Sachin Parashar’s article in the Times of India (ToI) titled “Bhutan’s road to democracy leads to China?” has received unnecessary attention among the Bhutanese - mainly because some of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidates has used it as a platform to launch an attack on their political rival - the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT). The point being made is that the article is proof that the erstwhile DPT government has jeopardized Indo-Bhutan relations.

It is rather unfortunate. The fact that it is being raised at this critical juncture in the General Elections is clearly a shortsighted play by the PDP to gain some political points over their opponent. In making this a campaign issue, the PDP has crossed, what the Indians would call, the Lakshman Rekha. I cannot understand what their desperation is. This is an issue very few of their candidates can talk on or write about, authoritatively. The subject is way out of their league. More importantly, the PDP chose to drum up hysteria over this issue - by every one of their candidates - in every Common Forum since 26th June - based on a very uneducated and poorly written article by a reporter of no repute. There is something fishy about the timing of the article and the manner in which the PDP keeps harping on an article that is not worth a sideways glace.

Both Bhutan and India understands the consequences of a strained relation that has been nurtured and sustained over the past six decades. Ours is a relationship that is without parallel. This is not a one-sided relationship but one that is based on respect for each other - a relationship that is both mutually fulfilling and beneficial.

When every other country in the neighborhood is happily playing the China card against India, Bhutan remains the last country in South Asia that is resolutely pro-India. Since the early 50’s, Bhutan has remained a steadfast friend of India. Our future is so entwined with that of India’s that it would be impossible to imagine a future without India by our side - as our mentor, partner and benefactor. India has never failed us and, despite what some unknown reporter in India might write, despite what some irresponsible reporters in Bhutan might write, India will remain firmly behind us. It is in their interest to do so.

India has always depended on Bhutan to be there - in their hour of need. It is not very often that India needs our help - but when they do, we did not fail them - every time. Take, for instance, the case of their Republic Day Celebrations this year.

The Sultan of Oman was supposed to be the Chief Guest during the celebrations. However, because of some bungling by the bureaucrats, the invitation to the Head of State was handled inappropriately - resulting in a humiliating rebuff from Muscat. In desperation, India turned to Bhutan - in an effort to salvage a most humiliating and disastrous situation. Disregarding established protocol, His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuk readily accepted to stand in for the Sultan of Oman.

The trust is not one-sided. India’s trust in Bhutan is explicit as well. That is evidenced by the level of their investment in the country. Nepal’s hydropower potential is almost double that of Bhutan’s and yet, Bhutan is where India chose to invest. Politicians should be careful not to jeopardize a bond and relationship that has been built over many decades.

Please keep this issue out of the election campaign trail!

.............. To Be Continued