Politicians elsewhere, sadly, have the shady distinction of being branded as the most corrupt of species often equated with low ethical morale and always with a keen eye for money and power.
Our MPs, however, begs to differ from this common adage. They will, without an iota of doubt and in all essence, put to shame any other hardworking Bhutanese professionals in other vocation, if what the recent NA Report 2015-16 regarding the duration and frequency of constituency visits by our parliamentarians hold any steam.
Case in point. Our MPs according to the report, which is yet to be scrutinized by the National Assembly Secretariat, reveal that majority of our MPs have travelled more than 100 days, on an average, to be with their beloved electorates in their constituencies.
A special mention has to be made of the four most hardworking MPs whose constituency visits total a whooping 200 and more days each, one even triumphing over 270, a remarkable feat given that there are only about 240 working days in a calendar year excluding weekend and public holidays. And, given their numerous commitments back in the capital to attend assembly sessions and fulfill other multi-tasking obligations, which according to a MP mean sacrificing more than seven months a year, their superhuman task is undoubtedly deserving of a mighty applause.
It will be noteworthy to point out how some of our beloved MPs might have endured extreme foot blistering hardships walking days on end and often sacrificing their own individual free time, not to mention forgoing weekend and other government holidays, to be with their people back in their villages. A feat that will make the most hardworking common man sulk behind the curtains.
And, given that our MPs are grossly underpaid with little or no perks, add to that their back breaking long tours to the most far-flung villages in precarious road conditions and away from the comforts of their leather-cushioned chairs in the capital, their claim for longer number of days spent in their constituencies should in no way be questioned. Because it is only through these meager TA/DA claims that some of our MPs can earn some ‘much deserved’ additional money to keep their home fires burning.
It indubitably must have been a compilation error or an arbitrary report on the NA secretariat’s part as is being claimed by our diligent MPs. And which couch-potato head had the audacity to complain to the speaker that our honorable MPs were claiming to be on constituency visits when in reality they were not in the field?
Our honorable MPs can never stoop to the level of claiming excess of what they are not entitled to. They are our representatives, trusted and elected by us and they have the extraordinary ability to both multi-task with their office duties while simultaneously being in the field, come rain or shine.
God forbid, if we were to question our superhuman honorable MPs on their ‘genuine’ travel claims.