Monday, May 7, 2018

The risk and wisdom of replacing sitting MPs in the coming General Election of Bhutan.

Setting aside the personal individual feelings of replaced sitting MPs and their immediate family and supportors, I think it is enevitable that changes in Party candidates will take place when preparing for next fresh general  election. The reasons will be varied.  Whether sound or undound or justifiable or common good of a Party may depend on which side of the fence you are sitting.

Recently Kuensel carried news about replacements of  PDP candidates among sitting MPs for the coming General Election. The sheer number of changes may be a surprise to many readers though few changes would have been expected.  Unlike 2013 wherein PDP was the undedog competitor, in 2018,  PDP has wider pool of candidates. So the temptation to be selective can be irresistible for 2018. There is a saying " a bird in hand is worth two in the bushes ". But in politics the more wider the pool of available candidates the more arbitary way the selection committee may function. Sure the President of a Party would haven the final say but it is not correct to blindly assume that  such a "say " is just based on personal like and dislike or worse personal whim and fancy. Concensus building is crucial when a Party is preparing for General Election. And a President among all members would conciously adhere to this criteria.     

It is said that PDP changes are based on feedbacks from fields and performance percept  among other  parameters ( not mentioned are two crucial factors: Party loyalty and financial contribution to campaign fund but these are the two most fundamentals in any political party ).

It is never an easy decision to replace the candidature of a sitting MP in an election. There are huge risk including backlash of supporters. So proper weigh-ins would be there in such a process.  PDP better hope that those feedbacks from local points are genuine.  In my personal perception, feedbacks from few outspoken  local people and heresay comments in social media are rather unreliable. Much of such feedbacks and comments  are manifestation of personal prejudices and not ground reality. So there has to be other vital reasons for replacement introduced. In cases of replacements of sitting MPs, I  feel that more important than the decision to replace is the manner of severance. Such must be done gently with due respects for the sentiment and dignity of the severed candidates.

In 2013, DPT replaced few sitting MPs with what seemed far stronger candidates. And PDP replaced quite a number of Primary candidates during the final General Election in 2013. It is hard to convince oneself that DPT lost because of the those few changes even though the deemed strongly positioned replacements lost the seats as did many sitting MPs . But for sure PDP did fared better because of the changes. Maybe that instinct prevails in the PDP political guideline this time also.

One thing is for sure here. PDP seems to be doing away with as many sitting MPs as it feels prudent but the Party still has far more sitting MPs competing in the Primary Election than the Opposition DPT.  So the bold decision would not negatively affect the Party success  even if few turn out to be wrong. In the final General Election, no matter which of the two among the four or five Political Parties make the round, there will be changes in Party candidates.

A trend once set is there to stay though I doubt the re-occurence of mass exodus as with 2013 DNT that informally merged DNT with PDP.

Losing ticket through Party candidate reshuffle contest or losing seat from  defeat in election contest are part and parcel of political venture. One has no choice but to cross the bridge when it comes. Do it with the least public acrimony and make the best out of a seemingly unfortunate or unfair deal. Life is never totally in the hands of others. One has a lot of say provided one garners the will to move on with optimism.  


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