At the eve of General Election 2013, Bhutan had witnessed numerous events that might have factored into the election result.
The Royal Government of India decided to withdraw subsidies on LPG and Kerosene skyrocketing the prices to more than cent percent increase. This had raised a suspicion among the voters. A room for suspicion was made spacious when People’s Democratic Party (PDP) related the issue with deteriorating relationships with India when Druk Phuentsum Tshogpa (DPT) was a ruling government. The Indian government had untimely decided to withdraw the subsidies when a tiny neighbor of his’ is at the eve of General Election.
The social media like facebook, twitter, and host of others saw videos of Chinese militants camped in northern part of Bhutan, a news being telecasted in India, specifically from the Zee News. As most of the people in Bhutan have a ready access to numerous social media, the propaganda became rift in the country. Fortunately, this went unnoticed by the party candidates. Otherwise this could have syringed in a fear and confusion among the people. The videos might have been pirated, it was shared all across the facebook accounts. However, to such extent, it might have impacted the election process.
Yet to another surprise, the General Election saw an article written in the The Times of India about the Bhutan’s dwindling relationships with India. The article went into delineating about the Bhutan’s new friendship development with Northern giant, China. It also accused of former Prime Minister of Bhutan cozying up with the Chinese Premiere. The article dealt about the Bhutan’s purchase of 20 numbers of buses of China in the line of fostered relationships. The President of DPT responded saying that relationship with India remains undisturbed and relationship with China is indispensable for resolving border issues.
These all unfolded when the election had drawn near. It was unwelcomed events that might have undue impact on the election process of the General Election 2013.
The people of Bhutan were optimistic that Government of India would timely step in to clear the fog of confusion regarding the Bhutan-India relationship that was afloat in the election period. But this never happened. What all we knew was the weakening Indo-Bhutan relationship as brought up in the media and election campaign. When the election is all done and pain of disaster was felt, the Indian Ambassador to Bhutan clarified that Bhutan-India relations remain formidable as it is. He also demystified that the withdrawal of subsidies was not to factor into political agenda and the reconsidering of the subsidies as done before would be soon tabled for discussion. These clarifications should have come pre-poll days not post election. There is no way we can undo the impact it could have in our election process. Thus, events came ill-timed and clarifications were delayed, it was just like an axiom, truth delayed is truth denied. The truth was denied here, the truth that should have come much early.
All we can do now is, pray for undisturbed election next time!