Ashok Rai, who had been in the then CPN-UML for a long time, is the senior leader of the Samajbadi Party, Nepal (SPN). Former UML Vice Chairman, Rai had quit the then UML arguing that the party could not run according to his vision and aspirations. Currently, SPN is in the government led by KP Oli. He is reluctant to describe this government as “unpopular” as he argues that the government’s efficiency is shadowed simply due to the high expectation of the people. In this context, Khabarhub talked to Rai for his views. Excerpts:
Your party is currently in the government led by the party that you had quit earlier. This government is gradually losing its popularity. Was your decision to quit the then CPN-UML a political one or the result of your short anger?
I am not the person who takes a decision in haste under aggression. I take a decision only after pondering over the issue for a long time exactly in line with a Chinese proverb, “Measure ten times, cut once.”
I hold the view that one should consult stakeholders and think twice before taking a decision. One should not ‘act in haste and repent in leisure’. The decision should be flawless.
As far as the unpopularity of the government is concerned, I do not want to describe this government as unpopular.
Your party is in the government. The demands your party had put forth prior to joining it have remained unfulfilled. Some political forces are not happy with the current political system, too. What would be your agendas for the next elections?
Full-fledged federal socialism would be our agenda in the next elections. It has four characteristics – federalism with identity, corruption-free good governance, prosperous Nepal and socialism with equitable distribution of prosperity.
We will go to the elections with these four agendas aforesaid. We have joined the government to help it create an environment for its goal, “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali.”
Can we take your party joining the government as a mere power hunger or strategic political move?
We have no strategic move behind joining the government. We have not joined the government with ill intent, nor can it be taken as a strategic move of our party.
KP Oli, who now is the prime minister of the incumbent government, had protested the constitution amendment proposal tabled by then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. The proposal could not be endorsed as the Deuba government did not command a two-thirds majority as the current one does. Prime Minister KP Oli has promised to address the issues raised by our party during the movement through the amendment to the constitution.
What is happening to your party’s unification move with Rastriya Janata Party (RJP?)
We are holding talks with the RJP as well as with other political parties. Without making our SPN an alternative force, change is not possible in the country. So, we are rendering our efforts to this end, currently. Prime Minister Oli has assured that he would address our demands but we are not quite optimistic. There is no option than forming the strongest political force to ensure amendment to the constitution.
Your seniority in politics degraded even though you devoted yourself to party unification. How do you analyze it?
Seniority does not lead the movement. A strong team is required to lead it. Such type of team is being formed. Hence, I am very happy. Had seniority been my priority, I would have remained in the CPN-UML.