Dalai Lama annoyed with Sikyong candidates

Lalit Mohan, Tribune News Service | April 16, 2016

DHARAMSALA — The Dalai Lama is annoyed with the contestants for the post of Sikyong leader of Tibetan people. Highly placed sources here said that the discontentment of the Dalai Lama from Lobsang Sangay and PeMpa Tsering was conveyed openly by him at a function organized at McLeodganj.

Recently, in his public speech during the centenary celebrations of Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute, the Dalai Lama had expressed deep concerns over the performance of the exile government as well as declining moral values in the community.

“It would be ‘grand on the outside but shallow inside’ if we put on grand proceedings here while these are lagging in our work on the ground. I may yet live for 10 or 15 years more, you all have the responsibilities now,” the Tibetan media quoted him as saying.

The sources here said that the Dalai Lama was unhappy with the kind of campaigning carried by both aspirants for the post of Sikyong in which personal attacks were made against each. The sources here said that Tibetan Spiritual leader Dalai Lama was so annoyed that he has barred the incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay, Parliament Speaker Pempa Tsering from seeing off or receiving during his travels.

Reliable sources said that the Gaden Phodrang (Private Office of the Dalai Lama), has directed the Kashag (Cabinet) and Parliament to stop the practice of Sikyong (Exile Prime Minister), Speaker and Kalons (ministers) seeing off and receiving him at Airport.

The communiqué in this regard, it is learnt, was issued on April 5, day before the beginning of the Dalai Lama’s five- day tour to Dehradun and Delhi.

The old-age custom of Sikyong, Kalons, Speaker and Deputy Speaker seeing off and receiving the Dalai Lama while he travels outside Dharamsala or returns back, was in practice since the inception of Central Tibetan Administration or exile government about 50 years back.

As a result of the direction of the Dalai Lama, Lobsang Sangay and Pempa Tsering were not part of the welcome entourage when the 80- year-old Nobel Peace Laureate returned home from his Delhi tour on April 11.

“His Holiness has desired that the Sikyong and Speaker stay away from receiving him,” said a source on condition of anonymity.

“The directions might have been due to the negative campaigning in the run up to Sikyong election 2016, which has perturbed the Dalai Lama,” he added.

Incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament Penpa Tsering were pitted against each other in the elections, polling for which was held on March 20. The results of the elections are expected by April end.

Apart from mudslinging and personal attacks from both sides, there was a debate over the conduct of two Sikyong candidates.

The state oracles of exile government had also prophesized similar sentiments followed by resignation of the security minister in Sangay’s Cabinet, who cited the same reason.

Following the displeasure shown by the Dalai Lama and deepening crisis, Sangay and Tsering held a joint press conference on April 7 expressing apologies to the spiritual leader for the way things went during the election campaign.

The former prime minister of Tibetan government in exile, Samdhong Rinpoche, a close aide of the Dalai Lama, has also expressed displeasure at the way campaigning was carried by both the candidates for the post of Sikyong. He had also not cast his vote to express his displeasure.

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