A Bhutan political party accuses education minister of illegal campaigning

KANGLUNG, Bhutan (Kuensel/ANN) - One of the political parties in Bhutan accused the serving education minister for using government resources and personnel to pursue his political agenda in a preparation for the upcoming general elections.

In a letter to the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) has alleged education minister, Norbu Wangchuk, of abuse of power and conducting illegal campaign in his constituency.

DNT is one of the four registered political parties in Bhutan and preparing to contest in the upcoming National Assembly elections. The party also contested in the primary round of the 2nd National Assembly elections in 2013.

The letter, which was submitted to the commission on July 13, alleges that the minister’s ongoing tour that began on July 11 in his constituency of Kanlgung-Samkhar-Udzorong in Trashigang is more of a preparation for the upcoming general elections premised on official visit.

“In the ongoing familiarisation tours, all other political parties are making do with bare minimum with regards to resources. At such a time, minister is seen using government resources and personnel to pursue his political agenda,” DNT’s letter claims.

The letter also alleges that DNT party workers have observed the minister engaging in political activities that includes conducting meetings in his constituency and nominating PDP party coordinators.          

The party has submitted a photograph of the minister with 17 party coordinators in Udzorong county including the itinerary of minister’s visit to ECB as evidence. “Besides travelling in government pool vehicle and using accompanying staff from the headquarters and local government officials to facilitate his political activities, the education minister has also been hosting meals for the people and wooing their support,” claims the letter.

During a meeting in Kanglung on July 13, the minister told Kuensel that he was visiting his constituency to meet the people and to express his gratitude before leaving office.

“I’ve not resigned and I’ve the duty to work until the last day of my office,” said the education minister. I’ve come here to express my gratitude to the people of my constituency for having given me the opportunity to serve the King, the country and the people for five years.”

The minster said that the tour is an official visit where he reports to the people some of the achievements that have been made in the last five years. “And since it is the end of the 11th Plan and the beginning of the 12th Plan, it is my obligation to report to the people what is in the 12th Plan,” he said. “If there is anything that is amiss in the 12th Plan, we take feedback from the people while we still have

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