The DPT party came to the 2013 elections seemingly unaware of the considerable liabilities they carried. They were already talking about having a need to increase the number of ministers to 18, changing the constitution, re-drafting the ACC act among other things.
When they lost the elections, it hit them hard.
The baggage of incumbency was particularly heavy for the DPT no doubt because of the long list of blunders they made.
They made matters worse by ignoring the wisdom that you should own up to your mistakes before someone distorts it out of proportion. The truth is always the best defense but the truth demands transparency. Transparency was an ideal that the DPT killed off with their overplayed ‘concerns’ over protecting state secrets.
The fact that despite their vocal denials, they were eventually proved wrong in the sales tax case, the Gyelpoishing land scam among others, added a solid dimension of credibility to the loud undercurrent of complaints against the party. Were these failings the whole lot or just the tip of the iceberg?
How far this bag of liabilities went to tilt the elections in favour of the PDP is hard to say, but it certainly did a lot to convince many informed citizens that DPT was not a wise choice for another five years.
The staunch DPT supporters like to believe that their otherwise assured victory at the ballot box was denied only because of a strategic interference by India in withdrawing their subsidies to Bhutan. They seem blind to the rather ‘strategic dumbness’ of trying to deal with China without allaying the concerns of India, while also achieving nothing in the process.
The other major set of liabilities afflicting the DPT, also something they are totally blind to, are their big party supporters.
While the DPT gained tremendous public support for their claim to save the people from the greed and excesses of the PDP that they predicted, post-election they seemed to have become so absorbed in rewarding their major financiers that before long they had become the very thing they were warning the people of. The major supporters of the DPT most people believe are the Tashi Group, Pelden Group, Eastern Coal Mines, Karma Group, Riverview family etc etc.
After the DPT’s landslide victory in 2008, it was clear that they came to collect their rewards. In the absence of any real transparency, what they ‘collected’ is only based on public speculation. Perhaps with a quick passing of the RTI act, the ‘collections’ listed below will be officially verified.
Tashi Group got T-Bank, Tashi Air and a de facto monopoly in beer throughout Bhutan. They also got Tashi cell, Bhutan’s first private mobile company.
It seems the DPT left no stone unturned in rewarding their supporters big and small. Convicted land thief and forger Chang Ugyen was also rewarded with the party’s Vice President’s post, severely denting the image of the party.
Major DPT supporters in Phuntsholing were rewarded by forcing DHI to embark on a land reclamation project in the river flood plain with the major party supporters assured prime plots.
Perhaps the biggest liability of the DPT was/is the Riverview family. They collected their share of the loot almost from the first day of the DPT government. They got the Druk PNB bank license even though the prevailing FDI rules had to be broken to issue that license. But apart from opportunities such as this, they were also implicated in many other dirty dealings. Their other license under the name of Global Traders was awarded the city bus tender despite not being the lowest bidder. On their behalf, the MOWHS Minister Jimba tried to convince the nation that they should be allowed to buy the land around the Trowa Theatre at government rates despite not having paid any lease for 5 years. The other son of Riverview family was mysteriously appointed as Bhutan Dealer for all heavy electrical machinery supplied by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). A first because BHEL does not need dealers.
In 5 short years, the Riverview group has displayed a tremendous ability to use/abuse their connections for family gain. But in the process, they have also done tremendous damage to the party they support. Bhutan is a small country and there really is no such thing as a secret.
Unfortunately, they are also causing tremendous damage to the monarchy because of the tie they have through marriage, a tie they openly abuse.
What else the DPT did during the past 5 years will slowly, but surely be revealed during the next 5. It is very obvious that the PDP must investigate and divulge every sordid detail. Not only is it in their own political interest to inform the public of the wrong doings of their primary political foe, but it also is their duty.
The DPT has rewarded them with a treasure chest of ammunition with which they can easily be destroyed. It will not need any false mudslinging or unfair tactics.
The PDP just has to follow the riverview trail…