May 24, 2022, Tuesday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

PM Deuba displays political knack

The Nepal Weekly
March 1, 2022

By TNW correspondent

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba honours the deadline for getting the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Compact ratified by parliament. The Nepali Congress President who is also five-time-PM displayed political knack in getting the grant – agreement through the House of Representatives.

“It was not easy for him to do so. It was a challenge actually. Two powerful alliance partners Maoist Centre and NCP Unified Socialist objected to the MCC up to the last point. Opposition party CPN UML continued its objection to Speaker Agni Prasad Sapkota in the floor of the House. Protestors were against it in the street,” observed a senior parliamentarian.

The “interpretative declaration,” a standard international practice to make one’s viewpoint on agreements or treaties clear and recorded for use in future, was worked out to get cooperation from the alliance partners and keep the coalition government intact. The tactical measure was instrumental in silencing the objection of the coalition partners who had mobilized their youth wings in the street to protest against the MCC for days together.

Critics term the 12-point-declaration nothing but statement of plain facts that the MCC honours Sovereignty of Nepal, respects constitution and laws of Nepal, does not push the country into any other country’s security camp, is stoppable as and when Nepal feels it is against national interest, remains presided over all the time by the government of Nepal. Politically, it has given way to save the face for the parties which opposed it strongly and later agreed to ratify it.

One of the negative consequences of so much controversy over the MCC is: donors have begun to question whether Nepalis like to have foreign aid for their economic development or not. Questions to this effect were raised in a recent donors’ meeting in Kathmandu. In practical terms, the country cannot undertake development works without foreign resources. Yet some politicos with some vested interest seek to object to it and compel an aid-package like MCC to be controversial for years together.

With MCC ratified, coalition in government not disturbed and with local election date fixed, political parties will now focus their attention on ways to approach the local polls.

Will it be mainly between five party alliance versus CPN UML? Or will parties go to the polls on their own? The issues are currently being discussed among those who take interest in polls. Answer to these questions will be available in a few weeks when parties offer their candidature, said an observer.