Did we learn?

election 2008As we are about to hit to the polls once again, after almost four-and-a-half-year later, it’s also time to contemplate our odyssey – the tryst with elections and democracy – so far.

The start hasn’t been smooth given some confusion in the beginning or call it ‘our naivety’, but we have managed to emerge out successful. More than a debacle, it has been a success story, at least we can now brag about it so.

An enriching experience altogether, but there were also plenty of lessons to be learned? Have we done so? Have we metamorphosed for the better or worse? And are we better now compared to what we were in 2008? These are questions we need to ask ourselves, timely as we gear up for another elections.

Indubitably, there were many lessons. Perhaps, that was also the first time we were tested. And the first time, we were exhibited how politics can be debauched or exposed to the other side of politics. We saw it happening then. We will see it happening now as well.

For instance in 2008, prior to the elections, some villages stand divided because of politics. A village which supported one party was indifferent to the other neighboring village if the latter supported another party. The rural folks in these villages who had coexisted in harmony and camaraderie since ages were no longer in talking terms. The negative remnants of the first elections are perhaps apparent even today.

We saw politics creating real rift even in homes as well, relatives becoming bitter enemies and the bad side of politics seemingly seeping into the very family bonds.

Somewhere in January 2008, before the elections, a woman in Shershong, Gelephu, was reportedly man-handled by her husband, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) supporter after she was found attending a Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) meeting. The wife was literally dragged out of the meeting hall by her husband.

Similarly, there were such similar reports sprouting up in other places as well. In Trashiyangtse, there were allegations that four young women who were PDP supporters were assaulted on their way home by DPT supporters.

If that wasn’t enough then, there were the two parties themselves so much engrossed into mudslinging, allegations and counter allegations. They were themselves casting aspersions at each other. Dirty outpourings from the two parties continued unabatedly till the elections were over. Further, party workers in rural areas were seen capitalizing on certain issues just to win votes.

We have seen it all – politics unsparing even poor individuals, families, villages and communities- in 2008 when there were just two parties. We have five parties this time and we cannot envision the predicament if the same occurrences are to occur again. But again, did we learn then?






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