DHARAMSALA, Oct 16: One of the five candidates running for the post of Sikyong (the political head) in the upcoming elections, Tashi Topgyal on Oct 14 held a brief public talk at Hotel Tibet in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamsala.
Addressing the gathering, Tashi Topgyal expressed his utmost loyalty to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and support for Middle Way Approach of ‘genuine’ autonomy for Tibet under the flagship of People’s Republic of China, a policy proposed by His Holiness, endorsed by the Tibetan Parliament in exile and adopted as the official policy by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
He spoke about his past experiences which were in the field of business such as mining and social welfare work, for instance, his pet project called ‘Drop in an Ocean’ which aims to raise money to help build old people’s home for senior Tibetans and raise the financial capability of the Tibetan administration.
He said strengthening and further developing the Tibetan settlements would be one of his main objectives if elected to the top post.
Taking a jibe at the incumbent Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, he said Sikyong Lobsang Sangay’s three guiding principles of unity, innovation and self-reliance remained only principles without any execution and substance to show during Sikyong Sangay’s tenure thus far. Tashi Topgyal vowed to practically execute these principles, though he did not explain how he is going to achieve that.
Further mocking the incumbent Sikyong, Tashi Topgyal questioned Lobsang Sangay’s proclaimed greatest achievement of having maintained unity and stability during his tenure as Sikyong after His Holiness devolved all his political authority to a democratically elected head. Sikyong Sangay made the proclamation while answering a question from a reporter during a recently held press conference to announce that he will run for re-election.
“Internal rifts and disintegration of Tibetan Youth Congress, the infamous March 10th incident in New York, increase in demonstrations by Shugden followers against His Holiness and resignation of more than 80 staff of CTA happened during Lobsang Sangay’s tenure as Sikyong. These instances do not reflect unity and stability as claimed by Lobsang Sangay as his greatest achievement. How can he make such a claim?,” Tashi Topgyal reasoned.
Tashi Topgyal lives in Shillong, Meghalaya and has formerly served in the Indian Army’s Special Frontier Force (SSF).
The other four candidates running for the upcoming elections to be held on Oct 18 (preliminary) and March 20 (final) are incumbent Syikong Dr Lobsang Sangay, Speaker Penpa Tsering, CEO of FTCI Tashi Wangdu and former political prisoner and writer Lukar Jam. Except for Lukar Jam who stands for complete independence of Tibet, the other four candidates have a common political stand – Middle Way Approach.