The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North

The Sorry Saga of Bhutan's North
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Party loyalties switch full swing in Gelephu

January 15, 2008-Gelephu: With alleged smear-campaigns and fear-campaigns from both party camps on an all time high, politics-as-usual is back in Gelephu. Of late, the limelight is on party loyalists who are switching sides.
Ugyen Lodey, who was a PDP supporter, told BT that the storm over the candidate selection made him switch his loyalty toward DPT.
“I was not happy with the strategies used by DPT party workers,” said Ngawang who now swears by PDP.
Savitri Gurung, the Sarpang DPT coordinator alleged that promises of roads, schools and medical facilities made by PDP have pulled some to the opposite camp.
“In fact many from the other party have also come to join us,” she said.
Meanwhile, the PDP southern regional coordinator T.P. Humagai accused that DPT was instilling fear in people to win them over.
Garab Dorji, the PDP candidate from Gelephu Constituency alleged that the DPT ploy of highlighting the presence of the former lyonpos in their party was working well for them.
“Switching loyalties has become unstoppable and with this pace I am sure it will go on until election,” he added.
However, Prem Gurung, the DPT candidate for Sarpang Constituency said highlighting the leaders showed the strength of the party and it was necessary.
He added that supporters switching allegiance was a natural process. “They are joining the party that appeals to them. People have begun to understand which party stood for what,” said Prem Gurung.
Meanwhile, the PDP dzongkhag coordinator, Karma Galey, alleged that Achyut Bhandari, who lost to Garab Dorji in the informal election for the Gelephu PDP seat, has switched to DPT and was mobilizing support for the party.
“I totally deny it,” said Achyut Bhandari adding that people with ulterior motives were doing everything to stop him from taking part in any of the elected offices.
As the official campaign dates are nearing both the parties are accusing each other for exploiting the security clearance issue to garner votes.

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