Former Minister Gyari Dolma launches her Sikyong 2021 campaign

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, AUG 14: Kasur Gyari Dolma, Former Minister of Home in the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), also known as the Tibetan government in exile, announced her official candidacy in the Sikyong (Presidential) 2021 elections on Friday.

She held a virtual press conference via Google Meet where she charted out her plans for the campaign and answered numerous questions from the press regarding prominent issues concerning the Tibetan polity and diaspora. 

Dolma asserted the need to highlight Tibetan struggle in the pursuit of dialogue between Tibet and China. By elucidating on the attempts of CTA and Tibetan NGOs for a resolution, she remarked that the present Tibet dilemma can be solved through partnership with the democratic nations and international community. Gyari Dolma further explained that her work with different NGOs including Tibetan Women’s Association (TWA) and Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) has shaped her understanding of the present political scenario. 

One of her main plans included a separate banking system for generating loans to Tibetans in need of financial help. She promised to work towards land stability in the Tibetan community as many struggle to find a stable home in India. She also emphasised on the need to work with various Settlement Officers (SOs) of respective settlements across India and community leaders abroad in the processes of decision-making.

She also acknowledged her unique position in the candidacy for being the first female candidate for the Sikyong elections, “The Tibetan Charter gives us equal rights and opportunities to participate in this democratic process. Nevertheless, we do know that as women, we always have to prove ourselves more [in comparison to] men and this is something I have experienced myself. 

“Though I cannot claim to represent all the Tibetan women in our community, my performance is going to affect the narrative of the Tibetan women in the political sphere. I have a huge responsibility but I think it is time we send a strong statement to the world and especially to the leadership in Beijing that Tibetan women have also taken charge in the struggle.” Gyari Dolma ran in the 2010 Kalon Tripa elections becoming the first woman to run for the highest seat in the Tibetan Administration. 

She urged the Tibetan community to avoid divisive sectarian and religious differences to uphold the Tibetan democratic system championed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She clarified that she fully supports the Middle Way Approach or Umaylam policy which was devised by the Dalai Lama and is the official stance of the CTA.

The former minister told the press that she will be launching an official Facebook page for her digital campaign. All candidates are now expected to start their campaigns as the Election Commission (EC) officially announced the commencement of the campaigning season earlier this month. 

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