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Flower Power – Jurmi Chhowing

I thought the incumbent party would pull through the primaries. Man – you never know how this specimen known as the Bhutanese will vote. It doesn’t matter what you think or what I think – they are an alien species full of middling-fingering surprises. And I say that with a lot of admiration and a wee bit of apprehension.

The biggest surprise of the rather gloomy and wet day – and I mean in terms of the weather – was the astounding lead, set off the tracks, by the DNT. Next to that rather thundering (expected?) surprise – thanks to a combination of urban and grassroots response – was the totally unforeseen charge by the DPT; who kept the numbers up close and personal, neck to neck, with the DNT. The DPT’s showing tells us, plain and simple, that the people who voted for them have voted above and beyond the politics of fear and disenfranchisement, and that has to be borne in mind. There’s a good lesson here for future polity.

The PDP’s EVM numbers were good but their Postal Ballots looked dismal, particularly keeping in mind their incumbency, and it spelt a downcast as the Post Ballots kept popping up on the BBS screen where, in totality, they kept lagging behind the DNT and the DPT.

The BKP, the newest entrant in the elections, can take a lot from their performance. Who knows where they might be by 2023? But the signs for the BKP are good, and if they can keep up and build up the base, the only direction seems upwards.

But man! You just can’t take anything for granted. The Bhutanese people are political creatures through and through. It’s inbred. Maybe that’s why the word ‘apolitical’ – in the Bhutanese context – is the most political stance you can ever come across, and a national joke kept secret for purposes of diplomacy.

Anyhow, the sun is shining again. The gloom has ebbed, and for now, we can acknowledge the savviness of the Bhutanese electorate. And democracy? What democracy? This primary round has demonstrated that we’ve always been demo-crazy. I just hope it doesn’t get plain crazy.

On that sensibly maddening note, here’s to the Final Round. And to Flower Power.

Jurmi Chhowing is a writer. He’s the founder of Yallamma! The Writing Company. He can be emailed at iamdrukpa@gmail.com

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