Tibetan Elections: Gyari Dolma gives final campaign shot in exile capital

Sikyong 2021 aspirant Gyari Dolma speaks during her campaign meeting in McLeod Ganj, India, on 30 December 2020.

Sikyong 2021 aspirant Gyari Dolma speaks during her campaign meeting in McLeod Ganj, India, on 30 December 2020. Tibet Sun/Lobsang Wangyal

By Lobsang Wangyal

McLEOD GANJ, India, 30 December 2020

Giving her final shot before the Election Day in the heart of the Tibetan politics in McLeod Ganj, Gyari Dolma, one of the front-runners for the post of Sikyong (the Tibetan political leader), said she’s ready to take on the responsibility to serve in the post to work for Tibet and serve the Tibetan community, if people elect her.

Dolma has been on a rigorous campaign schedule visiting across the country as well as a few states in the US, speaking at her rallies with her slogan “Patriotism, Integrity, and Consensus builder”.

Her priorities will be to deal with the Chinese government with a new strategy, and to serve the lower rungs of Tibetan society, those who are living below the poverty line.

The personal health and security of the Dalai Lama, the father figure of the six million Tibetans, will be treated as a matter of state policy.

She said that it has been 12 years since the last talks between the Chinese government and the representatives of the Dalai Lama. “It is amply clear that China has no political will to continue with the dialogue on the current proposal of seeking autonomy.”

“To bring the Chinese government to the negotiation table, we must first nullify the memorandum that was presented to the Chinese government in 2008, as this has not been regarded as acceptable for the Chinese government as a way for a settlement of the Tibetan issue,” Dolma says.

“Unless we want to remain with the status quo and waste five more years, we will have to opt for such a strategy, so that the Chinese government come up with what’s acceptable to resolve the Tibetan issue.”

However, she will remain firmly committed to the Middle-Way Policy as envisioned and promulgated by the Dalai Lama.

Speaking about lifting people from below the poverty line, she said she has seen and is familiar with people living in poverty. “This is an issue very close to my heart. We do not have a huge poverty issue. We have only in thousands, which can be helped,” she says.

Education, health, housing, and women empowerment are other items of importance on her agenda.

She expressed frustration over the way campaigning was conducted in the last elections. “It was ugly with all the negative campaigns. It was better this time, but there are still a few who are indulging in such low-level politics.”

Gyari Dolma and Kelsang Dorjee Aukatsang are the only two Sikyong aspirants who have been touring across the country and the US for campaigning. Front-runner Penpa Tsering opted for online campaigning, while Dongchung Ngodup chose not to campaign at all.

The other aspirants in the race include Lobsang Nyandak, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, and Tashi Topgyal, while Tashi Wangdu from Bangalore withdrew after some campaigning.

Voting for the preliminary round will take place on 3 January after the campaigning ends on 31 December. Counting of the votes will start on the 5th, and will be announced at their respective places within 24 hours.

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