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The recent development of a youth wing called the Druk Mitser Nashoen Tshogpa (DMNT) has unsettled many people, both in the political circle and the general masses. Those with political ambitions are questioning the legality of the group while the general public has been taken aback with the responses the group is attracting from the youth. Its political aspirations notwithstanding, this is the first time that the young people of Bhutan is making an assertion that they are concerned and that they should be heard.

There are many issues related to the formation of the group beginning from its legality to the right of association and the 30-point agenda it is pushing for to its political ambitions. But the bigger message is that the youth cannot be taken for granted now. Through this mass membership drive and the fact that it is attracting youth from all over the country, it brings a stark realization that the youth are a force to reckon with.

Even for the 2013 elections, the young population is in a pole position to call the shots. Statistics prove that the youth comprise more than half the voting population. A well organized youth wing pushing for a collective and selfless objective could very well become the most influential group for the upcoming elections. Such a group will form the biggest voters’ base in the country and it will only be foolish for any political party to ignore such a group.

However, there is also a need for us to be careful that the youth is not manipulated by few individuals for their own selfish motives. It could very well happen because we have never had any well-organized youth associations spearheaded by young and dynamic leaders in the past. Today, we have a youth focused Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and a Department of Youth and Sports but both these offices have mandates limiting them to politick openly. Under such situations, any savvy individual could easily exorcise the young minds to further their own selfish political interests.

Therefore, there is a strong need to include our youth in the political process and this could be done by having more awareness campaigns designed for the youth to let them understand and exercise their basic rights. Not only in politics, but it is also time for us to encourage youth associations of different nature to prepare them to take leadership roles in the future.

The throne has always emphasized on the importance of the youth in the country. Both the fourth and the fifth Druk Gyalpos have made special mention in every speech to include the youth in the developmental process. His Majesty Jigme Khesar has been personally attending all orientation and graduation ceremonies of tertiary institutes for the past few years now and this is a clear indication of the importance the throne bestows on the youth. It is time we take cue from the throne and we start empowering our youth. It is the only way we build our future.