Election 2011‎ > ‎

Clearing the Air – the Mr Clean Poster

posted Feb 13, 2011, 5:36 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Feb 13, 2011, 5:45 PM ]
To promote transparency, TPR invites campaign updates from all candidates.

By Kunsang Tanzin, Toronto

Over the past month Kungo Tashi Wangdi la has been visiting the Tibetan people in India. His visits have rejuvenated and reaffirmed to thousands of Tibetans why he is the most capable Kalon Tripa candidate. Every event in India has drawn hundreds of supporters and many independent voters have come out in his support. As one of his supporters these developments are encouraging but more than that as a Tibetan I feel proud that we Tibetans are listening, understanding and supporting a capable, experienced and humble man as our democratic leader.

While joining his campaign team, Kungo clearly directed to me and his other supporters to drive a campaign that was reflective of his 40 -year services to the TGIE and of the principles that he stood by all his life. He has always strived to unify the Tibetan people and bring together different views, regions and sects. His campaign too should be based on policy and should not use divisive means that will eventually weaken the Tibetan community. 

Recently, few of Kugno Tethong supporters have raised concerns regarding the MR CLEAN campaign poster used in MT in Delhi. To them a section of the content of the poster appears to be an indirect reference to the alleged financial irregularities during Kungo Tethong’s tenure as Paljor Kalon. Kungo Tashi Wangdi has on several occasions clarified that the alleged financial irregularities had no basis and that Kungo Tethong was not involved in any such misdeed. Kungo Wangdi, being a man of integrity, this time also brought forward the concerns related to the MR CLEAN poster with his supporters and had asked them to withdraw the said poster from further circulation and to remove the existing ones much against the wishes of his supporters. The website of his campaign also carries a press release to this effect. These actions should resolve the misunderstanding if there were any.

While in Delhi last week, I had the opportunity to have a run in with the Delhi campaign incharge, who explained to me that the Mr. Clean poster is by no means meant to hurt Kungo Tethong’s image. It is simply stating the facts of Tashi Wangdi la’s 40 years of experience. There is no doubt that he has had an impeccable, consistent, corruption free career. Stating the obvious is not an under handed method of defamation. According to him the term Mr. Clean genuinely refers to the general image that Kungo Tashi Wangdi carried amongst Tibetan society during his long tenure of service. I also tend to agree with him. Kungo Tashi Wangi had this image with him much before the entire process of 2011 Katri election began. 

Therefore, if I were a campaign supporter for Kungo Tethong, I would rather emphasize on the strengths of my own candidate than to be unduly bothered by how others describe their candidate. During Kungo Tethong’s campaign tour in Toronto, I had the privilege to attend his campaign program and be part of the fund raising dinner with him. During the dinner I personally let him know that I admired some of the ideas that  he intends to implement if chosen as Kalon Tripa. I have decided to support and campaign for Kungo Tashi Wangdi’s candidacy for reasons best known to me. Yet, I believe that other two candidates are worthy of respect and admiration from all of us for their intention to serve our nation within each’s best capacity. I sincerely wish to urge all our brothers and sister engaged in this historic election to play a positive role. It is equally an important responsibility on the part of every candidate to exhibit their leadership quality and rein in those supporters who are directly and indirectly engaged in maliciously defaming their opponents with ungrounded rumors and allegations that are causing unbelievable damage to our budding democratic processes.

Kungo Tashi Wangdi’s campaign has been victim to unprecedented and completely false allegations made by a tiny section of our society purporting to be  supporters of a particular candidate. The false rumor mill has been quick to fabricate tales of unfounded conspiracy. One of the most insulting rumors has been that the entire candidacy of Kungo Tashi Wangdi has been a tool to hinder Kungo Tenthog’s campaign success. According to these misinformed individuals, Kungo Tashi Wangdi’s 40 years dedication to the Tibetan cause holds no significance and is not a sufficient prologue to his Kalon Tripa candidacy. His consistent service is not reason enough to believe that he would continue to work for the Tibetan cause in any position the Tibetan people feel fit. Strangely enough, the same rumor mill has also been churning another tale. According to their baseless intelligence, Ms. Dolma Gyari’s withdrawal from the race too was meant to hurt Kungo Tethong’s campaign. I have known Ms Gyari, and she is one of the most seasoned Tibetan politicians who is unlikely to behave in such unethical and irrational manner. Her reasons to step down is more than likely to be based on her own expectations and performance in the nominations round.

These kind of conspiracy story might make for a vibrant non-intellectual debate over a cup of tea, they definitely give no justice to the integrity of our candidates. Deep in my heart I strongly and genuinely believe that Kungo Tethong is not involved personally in creating and spreading the conspiracy theory so deliberately, systematically and effectively in our society aginst Kungo Tashi Wangdi. Yet I think it would add to Kungo Tethong’s leadership standard immensely if a word or two from him on this issue is made public officially. After all Kungo Tenthong and Kungo Wangdi were colleagues for many years