Sunday, January 17, 2016

Thromde Election Scenarios.

Problems of over populated Thromdes and scanty Voters.

Enthusiasm for voting is inspired mostly by rival candidates' campaign push or Political Parties influence. In absence of Political Parties as in Thromde Election and with just one or two candidates standing for election, it is quite natural to expect very low voter turnouts. However,  the main drawbacks in voter turnout is simply lack of eligible voters among huge Thromde population.

The present rule permits only those who have census in the Thromdes to vote in the election of Thromde Thrompon and Tsokpas. Most residents in Thromde hail from different regions of Bhutan and have their census in their traditional home location.

One way to increase voter numbers would be to encourage those residents with immovable properties under Thromde to register their census also in the same Thromde. It may sound logical. However, there are huge underlying adverse national implications.

Can the delicately structured political system of Bhutan digest mass census migration to several urban centres such as Thimphu , Phuentsholing  and SamdrupJongkha? What would justify the continuation of present rural base constituencies for National Assembly Seats if population census moved out to urban centres? National Assembly should represent people not place.  And so its natural  for urban centres to expect/ demand more Constituency Seats to represent proportionate national population with their census in Thromdes.

There are many critical national reasons to avoid census migration to urban centres. Once totally cut off from any rural  connection, traditions and roots could disappear.  Overtime,  urban centres will have no roots and no particular identity and totally devoid of community instinct, affection or responsibility. True social integration or structured communities would be unheard of and culture a mixed bag as you sow, so shall you reap. If you are socially prominent there will be a crowd to share both your happy and sad occasions. But  otherwise you could very well be left isolated even among a crowd.
Such social environment does not encourage conducive nation building politics.

For national political stability and social harmony, maintaining census at traditional home base should be encouraged. Traditions and strong community system build positive social characters. And further, Bhutan cannot upset the traditional balance of power among the 20 Dzongkhags.

The establishment of so many Thromdes will inevitably bring about changes in social and political demography and also concepts. These could trample over the inbuilt mechanisms to protect traditional power centres. Might be more democratic in movement but social and political stability may fall prey to such demographic revolution.

However, the urban centre democractic deficiencies  should also be corrected. It is important that stakeholders are granted the opportunity to have their say in the administration of Thromdes.
Therefore,  the nation must  come up with new voting formula for Thromde Office Bearers Elections.  The Voter base in Thromde must be expanded to include those who have immovable assets like land and house under the Thromde and pay property taxes to the Thromde. This way stakeholders in Thromde can have their say through voting even though without census they cannot be candidates for Thrompon Post.

Candidates for Thrompon should have census in the Thromde but Tsokpas should be eligible from amongst all voters and also from established business proprietors who may not own immovable assets but nevertheless have important stake in the facilities and development activities of the Thromde.  

For better proficiency in administration and capability as members of Committee for main Thromde, the Tsokpas should have at least high school education. Otherwise they could be simply out manoeuvred by a well educated and experienced Thrompon. Such experienced and qualified Tsokpas have to be attracted through better pay.

Another suggestion for Candidates and Election Commission is that broadcast of information and notification is very effective through bulk SMS through Bhutan Telecom and Tashi Cell instead of News papers, Radios or Television. SMS not only alerts mobile owners but generates discussions and so spreads the messages very effectively. Not everyone listens to radio/ read papers or watch BBS TV. And relying on Tsokpas to notify voters is simply not bankable. But mobile culture is very vibrant in Bhutan even in the remotest corners where service is available. ECB ! Please promote democracy and voter participations  through reliable and vibrant mobile net works. Send bulk SMS ! Thank you for promoting genuine democracy culture.

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