Dharamsala: Days after the Dalai Lama's statement that he is contemplating retirement in the next six months, which left his followers perplexed, members of the Tibetan government-in-exile say that the spiritual leader's exit from public life may take more time.
According to Tenzin Taklha, Joint Secretary at the Dalai Lama's office, it is likely to take around one year for the Tibetan spiritual leader to take a full retirement from political life even if the Tibetan parliament-in-exile approves of it.
"Dalai Lama told a journalist that he is considering the feasibility of retirement from public life...The entire process of retirement for the Dalai Lama is likely to take around one year," said Takla.
The Tibetan parliament shall be convened after the general elections in March next year, the first phase of which has already been completed. And if it approves the Dalai Lama's exit, that process will take another six months, he said.
Talking about his desire to retire from public life, the Dalai Lama recently said in an interview, "In order to utilise full democracy, I feel (it is) better (if) I am not involved (and) I am devoted to other fields, promotion of human values and peace and harmony. But firstly I have to discuss, to inform members of the Tibetan parliament".
The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile also said at a conference in Delhi last week said a new set of political leaders were emerging among the exiled Tibetans.
While traditionally the office of the Dalai Lama combines both spiritual and temporal roles, the current 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has progressively distanced himself from a direct political role and expressed a desire to live a simple life of a monk.
However, his statement pointing to retirement has left Tibetans worried.
If the Dalai Lasma retires, there will be a leadership vacuum as there will have to be someone to carry on their struggle for greater autonomy.
Most Tibetan leaders, members of the parliament-in-exile as well as common people are not in the favour of their chief leader's retirement.
Deputy Speaker as well as a Prime Ministerial candidate in next year's election Dolma Gyari said, "We will humbly request him not to leave us".
Another MP Tempa Tsering said the Dalai Lama's role in Tibetan affairs can not be deleted.
A businessman named Tenzin said that the whole Tibetan community shall agitate if Dalai Lama dose not reverse his decision to retire.
In the meantime, the election commission of the government-in-exile has started the process to hold general elections March 20 next year.
About 80,000 voters have registered in India, Nepal, Bhutan, US, Europe, Australia and elsewhere to cast their votes.