The Game Changers?

Will former ACC chairperson Dasho Neten Zangmo’s joining Bhutan Kuenyam Party open up a whole new level of possibilities for the estranged party?

Tashi Wangmo, Thimphu

The cat is finally out of the bag. Dasho Neten Zangmo, the former Anti Corruption Commission’s commissioner, has declared her intent to stand for the 2018 general elections from her Deothang-Gomdar constituency wearing a Bhutan Kuenyam Party flag.

While it is a tad too early to draw assumptions and start drawing the battle lines, there are already talks doing rounds, albeit behind the official political arena, that the former ACC chairperson has given a new lease of hope and life to the estranged party while a few are of the opinion that she should have joined some other parties which have better chances of forming the next government.

A retired civil servant angay Duba, 63, says that Dasho Neten’s joining BKP will prove to be a political blunder, and that she could have given it a serious thought before making the move.
“A person of Dasho Neten’s caliber will be gladly offered tickets by any political parties she wishes to join. She should have opted for a mature party with credible candidates. And while she definitely can be an added power, BKP do not have that credibility and the wow factor to form the government. Probably she could have been offered a prime ministerial berth otherwise why would she opt for BKP,” the retired civil servant, who now lives with his daughters and grandchildren in the capital, said.

According to Sangay Duba, Bhutanese as voters have matured over the years and that people will just not vote for a party or a candidate that is headed by a few promising candidates.
“Bhutan is a small country where everybody seems to know everybody and every individual Bhutanese has a choice and an opinion of their own. It would be very difficult to sway voters just by sweet talks and common heresy. Bhutanese will, for now, never follow the herd policy,” the 63-year-old says, adding that BKP will have to field in another 46 formidable candidates if they were to stand a chance of even competing in the primaries.
A media analyst and consultant based here in Thimphu said that it is way too early to comment anything on the race to the 2018 general elections.
“Dewathang-Gomdar constituency is a PDP stronghold and it would be difficult for the voters there to opt for change. Let us assume Dasho Neten wins in the primary round, but does the party she is representing have enough firepower to make it to the general elections? I think the chances here are very slim,” he added, adding that she too might later opt to merge with another party to stand for the general elections.
Another media consultant Pema Dewa, 35, who is from Gomdar says that Dasho Neten Zangmo by joining BKP has given the voters a varied choice of candidates in their constituency.
“I can definitely say that Dasho Neten would be a more probable choice to voters in our communities, but I rate their party as a whole winning the primary elections to not more than 15-20percent. I believe it is becoming very difficult for new parties to rope in qualified and capable candidates and it will be the same with BKP,” Pema Dewa added.
Nonetheless, there are a few quarters Dasho Neten Zangmo is ahead of other probable candidates in terms of popularity and her ability to convince people around her.
A corporate employee Tshering Choden, 36, says that of all the womenfolk in our country Dasho Neten Zangmo is the most decorated individual and that women of her caliber has the capability to even become the first female prime minister of the country.
“She is very vocal and a person of unmatched integrity which she has already proven during her stint as the ACC’s first commissioner. Dasho Neten did make a lot of friends, and foes alike, while she was the ACC commissioner but what is important is that she delivered what was expected of her. A woman like Dasho Neten deserves to be elected,” Tshering Choden added.
Tshering Choden represents the all-savvy modern-day-women of the country who are increasing believing in women-power, and the fact that more than 50percent of our total voter population are women Dasho Neten Zangmo’s fate could take a turn for the better if she can play her cards well.



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