KATHMANDU, Jan 31: As the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) continues to be divide over the $500 million US grant, party leaders have stressed the need for a common understanding whether to endorse or reject it, before it gets tabled in parliament.
The NCP leaders are sharply divided over the American development aid. A section of leaders oppose it saying the grant was provided to Nepal as part of strengthening a military alliance called the Indo-Pacific Strategy.
“We have received mixed reactions about MCC and several other issues,” said Thakur Gaire, adding, “So, we have proposed to seek a common understanding within the party.”
Over 450 central committee members have divided into 15 groups to comment on three key issues – political report presented by party chairmen Oli and Dahal, organizational report, and the draft amendment of the party statute – tabled at the ongoing central committee meeting. Discussions are underway at three different places – city hall auditorium, party headquarters, and Perisdanda – over the issues.
The political report has defended the MCC grant, arguing that it is not linked to any military alliance as argued by some leaders in the party. MCC supporters in the party say the grant is meant purely for developing cross-country electricity transmission lines between Nepal and India and upgrading roads. There is no need to further debate the grant, leaders close to Oli say.
Most leaders opposing the American aid are close to another influential leader Madhav Nepal. Nepal loyalists have proposed forming an MCC study panel in the party before endorsing the agreement through parliament.
Those close to Oli have opposed the idea, saying there is no need for further debate. Arguing that some leaders in the party are trying to take a nationalist posture in the name of opposing the American aid, Oli’s supporters have ruled out the idea of an expert panel.
“Leaders are standing on both fronts – for and against MCC,” said Surya Thapa, a central committee member and advisor to Prime Minister Oli. “But this shouldn’t be a matter for continued back and forth. Instead, building infrastructure, particularly cross-country power lines, substations and roads – should be started immediately as agreed.”
Thapa has said that some party leaders who are dissatisfied at not getting government positions are unnecessarily creating misconceptions among the public about MCC.
Based on the suggestions recorded in the groups, the group leaders will present their conclusions before the party leadership from Friday.