What is the driving force behind a prospective political candidateâ€™s decision to align with a particular party? Is it the likeliness of victory? Is it the promise of a ministerial berth? Is it assured leadership that is yet to declare itself?
So far none of the parties in the fray have outlined their ideologies.
â€œMany would join a party that is likely to win the elections,â€? said a Thimphu analyst who is tracking the movement of prospective candidates. â€œThey are risking secure jobs and it would be reasonable to join a party that would guarantee them a sure ticketâ€?
According to party officials of the Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party (PDP), the partyâ€™s Constituency Committee would nominate their candidates, but there was already a handful of people who have declared that they would contest for the party.
A spokesperson for the Bhutan Peopleâ€™s United Party(BPUP) had earlier told Kuensel that they would identify their candidates after they finalise their manifesto.
Generally, an interested candidate would join a party depending on how they view a partyâ€™s ideas and beliefs, but without the manifestos, observers say that â€˜clear visibility of a party leaderâ€™ could also be the reason at the moment.
â€œI believe in a strong and credible leadership,â€? said a possible candidate from Trashigang, who has joined PDP. â€œGoing by the people who are joining the party, I see a strong team,â€? he added. Another possible candidate had been quoted saying that he chose to run for PDP because the party is â€˜led by a person known for his service.â€™
A third PDP candidate said that in choosing a party the most important thing was the trust and confidence of the people in the party. â€œPDP is more democratic in its establishment and I did think hard before choosing it,â€? he said.
The justification stands given that many people think that more and more people would join BPUP if a notable minister leads the party. But there are others who feel that joining a party based on personality could send the wrong message.
â€œI wouldnâ€™t go for personality,â€? said a civil servant waiting to join a party. â€œI am waiting for the parties to announce their manifestos. I would look into the visions and aspirations of the party, take it to the people and see if they would agree to it before joining,â€? he said.
An analyst said that from his close interactions with the possible candidates, he became skeptical of their interest and motives. â€œMany didnâ€™t have answers when I asked them what would they do if their ideologies deviated from that of the party they are joining,â€? he said. â€œThis shows that they are joining for other reasons.â€?
â€œIn most case people were approached and it is a top down approach,â€? he said. â€œThis means both the party and the candidates are not prepared. When the choices are clear, people should make reasoned judgment.â€?
Another observer pointed out that the possible candidates, mostly civil servants, made a calculative move in choosing their party. â€œThey have already made a bold move by sacrificing their jobs,â€? he said. Given the risks it is a reasonable calculation to align with a party that would win votes and then win a seat for you.â€?
However, notwithstanding the party they choose with or without understanding the parties, observers also appreciate the movement from the civil service to politics. â€œThey are responding to the need of the country,â€? said an observer. â€œThere should be more people declaring, especially the ministers to lead or form new parties so that people would be offered more choices,â€? he said.
â€œTo have a healthy democracy there should be more parties and any serving minister forming a party would inject impetus to the democratic process,â€? said a former lecturer. â€œMinisters joining politics is the need of the hour,â€? he said.â€? Source: Kuenselonline