CPN-UML Vice-chairman Ashok Rai is leading a dissident group of UML leaders from Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities who are demanding ethnicity-based federalism. He talked briefly to Republica.
You have been continuously boycotting party meetings in recent days and you didn’t attend the Central Committee meeting on Saturday either. What is the reason?
These days, my status in the party is like I am on leave.
Tell us whether or not you are going to attend the party meetings.
We are just watching and waiting, what decisions the party takes at the ongoing CC meeting.
How hopeful are you of the UML leadership addressing your concerns?
Politics is unpredictable. So nothing is impossible.
Are your leaders holding talks with you and seriously responding to your concerns?
They have been requesting us frequently to sit for talks and find solutions.
But you didn’t attend the meeting today [Saturday] either. Why?
It’s not that we are not holding talks. Though I am not present in person at the meetings, some of the friends [CC members] from our group are attending and they are raising our voice there.
In the recent politburo and CC meetings, a significant number of leaders reportedly pressed the party leadership to adopt the mixed-identity model as a middle-path solution to resolve the row over state restructuring. Are you okay with the proposal?
It can be a solution. We continued our campaign as the leaders rejected the idea of delineating and naming provinces based on mixed identities [of the ethnic communities concerned].