By Tenzin Monlam
BJP supporters celebrating party's success in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat assembly elections.
DHARAMSHALA, December 19: Riding on the Modi wave, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has registered its victory in the state of Himachal Pradesh, which has been the abode of exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and some twenty thousand Tibetans for the last 60 years.
Being one of the places where most Tibetans have settled and where the exile Tibetan government is set up, many Tibetans too participated in the recent elections and expect that the support extended by the state government towards Tibetans would not change.
“I feel that whichever government comes in power, issues of Tibet and Tibetans will remain the same and I don’t see any changes happening. Since I have grown up in exile, I have experienced many changes in the government but their concern towards Tibet issue have remained the same,” said Thinley Jampa, a shopkeeper in McLeod Ganj who took part in the election.
He also added that his main expectation from the new government is to swiftly resolve the pending 218 cases of encroachment of forestland. The 218 families are located in the Tibetan residential areas of TIPA road and Bhagsu road in Mcleod Ganj.
“If it is resolved, it would be certainly help most of the Tibetan living in Mcleod Ganj,” he said.
Another Tibetan who participated in the voting last month anonymously said that BJP coming into power could be a good change since RSS, parent organization of BJP, always had a soft corner for Tibet issue.
He also said, “RSS and BJP have always maintained tough stand against China and have been a great support throughout our stay in exile.”
Ram Madhav, National General Secretary of BJP at the Prof M L Sondhi Memorial Lecture last week said, “I believe the path chosen by His Holiness the Dalai Lama of engaging with Chinese leadership to have meaningful, beneficial and acceptable settlement relationship for the future of Tibet with China is the best available option today.”
He also said, “We have great respect for Tibetans living in exile. Government of India is extending all support to Tibetans. Although at the moment, it is between the CTA and China. Whenever required, India will stand up for Tibet.”
Following its victory in the state with 44 seats out of 68 on Monday, the President of Central Tibetan Administration, Dr. Lobsang Sangay congratulated the party and also thanked the outgoing CM Virbhadra Singh for his deep affection and kind support.
“The Tibetan people welcome BJP’s victory with fond memories and hopeful optimism. BJP at both the center and state have been very supportive of the Tibet issue and have always extended timely assistance for the welfare of the Tibetan people residing in the state,” he said.