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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Dalai decision, coming polls put Tibet MPs in a fix

March 19, 2011

VARINDER BHATIA, Indian Express
Posted: Tue Mar 15 2011, 13:40 hrs

Dharamshala: With merely five days left to elect the new Members of Parliament and the new Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa); Tibetan MPs are caught in a Catch-22 situation.


Many MPs are worried at the decision of the Dalai Lama, announcing his retirement from political leadership of Tibet and spiritual headship of Tibetans the world over. They are also anxious on account of the short time-frame leading to the final round of elections.

While the Dalai Lama is not likely to go back on his decision to retire, the elected representatives of Tibetans – the MPs, who are considered the voice of the people, have to incorporate Tibetans’ views into their course of action.

By afternoon, on the second day of the House, 14 MPs had spoken, outrightly rejecting the Dalai Lama’s decision to retire. Citing various reasons, the MPs unanimously refused to accept the supreme leader’s decision, saying it was not feasible for Tibetans to recognise any other person in place of the Dalai Lama.

“Even if we held elections to elect the political head; His Holiness will be a unanimous winner,” said Dolma Tsering, while speaking in the House.

Other prominent MPs including Dolkr Lhamo, Karma S Tharchin, Urgyen Tobgyal, Sonam Dadul and Yeshi Phuntsok, too refused to accept the Dalai Lama’s decision to retire. More MPs are going to speak and are likely to refuse to accept the Dalai Lama’s decision, in the post lunch session.

“What can we do? We are caught up in a trivial situation. His Holiness’ wish is supreme for any Tibetan, but we are the representatives of the people; we need to take care of their sentiments as well,” said Penpa Tsering, Speaker of the exiled Tibetan government.

“How can we think of having anybody else in the place of His Holiness? Every Tibetan wants the Dalai Lama as their leader. Nobody will accept anybody other than him to head the entire Tibetan community,” said Urgyen Tobgyal.

The final round of election for new MPs and the new Prime Minister is scheduled to be held on March 20. A significant number of Tibetans are going to vote both for the Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) and the Members of Parliament on March 20.

The timing of the Dalai Lama’s decision and the new election is of crucial importance and many MPs are worried about their political fate.

“We are caught in a messy situation. On one hand, we must adhere to His Holiness’ sentiments; on the other hand, thousands of people, who have reposed their faith in us and elected us, hope that their voice will be heard. Their sentiments undoubtedly tell us that nobody other than the Dalai Lama can be the political head of the State,” said another exiled government MP.

“There has to be a way out. The Parliament, to start with, can very well keep delaying a decision on the Dalai Lama’s retirement issue; but for how long? The time has come, when every Tibetan has to think and find a new way to decide our future course of action,” added another MP.

The MPs are likely to conclude deliberations on the issue of the Tibetan supremo’s retirement by Tuesday evening or before lunch on Wednesday. “It is most likely that every MP will be of the view, that we should try and request His Holiness to continue for some more time as the political and spiritual leader of all the Tibetans. Let’s see what happens next,” said Karma Yeshi, another exiled Tibetan MP.

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