Being blunt

One of them is confused

One of them is confused

The cartoon in the last issue of Bhutan Times showed Lyonpo Nanda Lal Rai announcing: “I’m going to be blunt. He (opposition leader) along with other MPs will get the CDG. But he’s creating all this noise to gain political mileage. If people are misinterpreting the Constitution from day one, they’re asking for trouble.”

I take issue with Lyonpo Nanda Lal on four counts. First, I cannot and will not accept the CDG if I continue to believe it to be unconstitutional. My understanding of our obligations to safeguard our Constitution will not allow me do so. In fact that’s what the first part of Tshering Tobgay’s placard says in the BT cartoon.

Second, challenging government policy is not “noise” and is not for “political mileage”. It is our duty. And especially so if government policies risk infringing on our constitution. We’ve raised our concerns through various media – the press, TV, this blog and officially with the government. More important, the National Council and the public have also raised similar concerns about the CDG. But, so far, our government has not offered any explanation as to why they feel that the CDG does not violate certain provisions of our Constitution. So to dismiss constructive criticism and genuine concern as “noise to gain political mileage” demonstrates the complete lack of understanding of the issues. Or it demonstrates outright arrogance. Both are not good for our democracy.

Third, if our government feels that “people are misinterpreting the Constitution” they should explain which provisions of the Constitution are being misinterpreted. This is their duty. Yet our government has not ventured any explanation on the constitutionality of the CDG. So simply charging people of misinterpreting the Constitution without offering any justification is wrong. Prove that the CDG is not unconstitutional and I will stand corrected. That, in essence, is what the second part of Tshering Tobgay’s placard says in the BT cartoon.

And finally, I have absolutely no idea what Lyonpo means when he treathens that “they’re asking for trouble”. We are not asking for trouble. But what we are asking for is an explanation from our government. What we are asking for is the democratic process. What we are asking for is our Constitution.