DHARAMSALA, 22 May: Kunga Tsering has been elected the new Tibetan Settlement Officer (TSO) of Dharamsala.
Kunga Tsering was declared the fifth TSO of Dharamsala after securing 605 votes at the final round of the election.
A total of 1129 Tibetans living in Dharamsala jurisdiction which extends to Tibetans living up to Gopalpur turned up to vote at the final round of Dharamsala’s TSO election held on 21st May.
Thinley Jampa, the runner up secured 507 votes while 17 votes were declared null and void.
The election recorded a staggeringly low voter turnout of around 18 percent and the incumbent TSO Dawa Rinchen argues that it reflects a sorry state of public not shouldering their responsibilities.
“The low turnout reflects people are not shouldering their responsibilities and their disregard for the welfare of the community”, Dawa Rinchen said.
Dawa Rinchen said that 9000 Tibetans have registered their green book at Dharamsala and added that over 6000 of them had the vote in the election.
“Whoever gets elected to the TSO, it doesn’t make any difference to us,” a local Tibetan said when enquired about his participation in the election.
Tibetans who have been paying voluntary contribution through the green book to Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamshala for at least five years continuously in McLeod Ganj could vote in these elections.
Kunga Tsering will now succeed Dawa Rinchen to the office of TSO Dharamsala in July.
The TSO-elect who has previously worked at People’s Movement for Middle Way has promised to serve the office with dedication and commitment in accordance with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s wishes and the Tibetan Charter after his election victory.
Though the charter of Tibetans in exile mandates elections to be conducted to appoint Tibetan settlement officers across Tibetan settlements in India, most of the settlement officers are directly appointed by the Central Tibetan Administration as holding election for all the TSOs is not feasible.