Year 2008, the journey towards Democracy begins right after the kingdom celebrates 100 years of monarchy. The visionary fourth Druk Gyelpo shared concern on the development philosophy in modern Bhutan. His Majesty himself took keen interest ushering in change and discussing draft constitution with the people thereby accept the institution of Democracy in the country.
Thus Bhutan was finding new path into its future anticipating the concept, by the people, for the people.
The year 2008 was one of the important years in the history of Bhutan’s political journey. People dressed in colorful attire with packed lunch moved to the polling stations where their franchise will be cast to elect first democratic elected government of Bhutan. Remarkably the voter turnout for National Assembly election was 79.3% of which the rural voter was high
Barely six year now, still cannot figure out whether people in rural areas really understand the concept of Democracy. Every individual I talked about democracy at my work place, they have negative response which attribute the ignorance of Democracy to their minds. They have a notion that the power to change in the society is bestow upon them which is absolutely right but doesn’t make sense when they expect personal gain in return to the vote. “I did vote for him and his party” therefore I have a right to ask him that directly benefit me, said Aum Zangmo. Very few people do not expects individual gain but they definitely look forward for the rapid gewog development such as new farm road, safe drinking water, up gradation of old schools, enhance supply of high yielding seeds and farming technologies
Meme Lhendrup Zangpo from remote village and few others dare not worry since they believe in His Majesty, the guardian of the country to look after them. To Some democracy is empowering people and should use wisely. The majority thinks that the democracy will only facilitate what our monarch had been doing for ages, serving people and the county. Without realizing the impact the democracy will bring in their lives, people still thinks democracy is just waste of resources
Sangay Tenzin, retire local leader, one of the renown and respected in the village recalled 2008, a year of cue and confusion, breakdown of relationships, some to extend where divorce petition was put up to gewog. Despite the fact that the new era had begun where things that seem impossible for ages can be possible now
He even highlighted on the advocacy and sensitization program on democracy. Suggested it should be one of the main priority from Election Commission of Bhutan. Hence understanding the concept of democracy in depth will enhance the voter turnout in righteous manner unlike earlier.
Having participated and served for two democratic elections so far, I see more relatives, means more vote especially in rural areas. People hardly see the candidate’s capability to change their lives but favors the closest. Rural people can be easily influences and are very venerable to bribe and false promises.
We believe changing the mind sets of the rural peoples are tough yet we see hope possibility in their innocent faces to accept changes as the country moves forward towards modernization.
Drepong gewog, Mongar