KATHMANDU, Aug 19: The CPN-UML leadership has decided to ask the party´s Vice-chairman Ashok Rai to spell out finally if he wants to stay in the party.
A standing committee meeting of the party on Saturday took a decision to this effect as leaders concluded that some leaders including Rai have already reached “a point of no return”. But the same meeting decided to once again call other dissident leaders to resume their assigned work.
Rai has been leading a group of dissident leaders from Madhesi, ethnic and indigenous communities, who have been boycotting the party meetings and official events for months expressing differences over the party´s official position on state restructuring.
"The meeting decided to ask Vice-chairman Rai for one last time to spell out if he wants to stay in the party," party Secretary Shankar Pokharel told Republica. This decision is significant in that party Chairman Jhalanath Khanal had held several rounds of talks with Rai and other leaders before taking the decision.
According to leaders, the standing committee took the decision as Rai in his interviews to the media has repeatedly said that he wouldn´t stay in the party any longer. The party will now ask if Rai has really made up his mind to quit the party.
"As far as the statements of other dissidents are concerned, they have reportedly accused the party leadership of failing to address their demands," said Pokharel.
"If their reply is satisfactory the leadership can consider retaining them in the party. If not that will provide the party enough grounds to seek their departure."
Sources said the leaders are convinced that Vice-chairman Rai, Bijya Subba, Ram Chandra Jha, Rajendra Shrestha and Ajambar Kangmang are unlikely to stay in the party. Top leaders are trying to convince other dissidents including Prithivi Subba Gurung, Dal Bahadur Rana and Rijwan Ansari to voice their grievances by staying in the party.
To respond on nine-point demand in writing
The standing committee also decided to make the party´s position clear on the nine-point demand submitted a few months ago by Rai on behalf of the dissidents.
Standing committee members said they decided to make the party´s position clear on their demands because some of the dissident leaders have indicated that they may stay if the party positively responded to them in writing.
The dissidents have been demanding that the nomenclature and the number of provinces be determined on the basis of single ethnic identity but the party has officially stood for taking multiethnic and neutral identity as the major basis for state restructuring.
The party´s central disciplinary commission had earlier sought clarifications from a dozen dissidents over their statements and their parallel activities.
Amrit Bohara, chief of the commission, said the disciplinary body has been closely watching their recent activities and public statements and the commission would take concrete action soon