February 18, 2020 08:00 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Feb 18: Ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) cadres, who reached Dillibazar Prison on Monday afternoon to welcome the release of former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara chanted strong slogans against the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
A section of NCP cadres claim that Mahara was falsely accused of the rape-attempt charge "for not expediting the process to endorse the MCC agreement through parliament."
Mahara's supporters argue that he was framed under the "grand design of the US".
The ruling NCP remains divided over whether to endorse the MCC grant through parliament as a section of leaders claim that the grant is against Nepal's national interests.
The party has formed a taskforce led by senior leader Jhalanath Khanal to conduct a detailed study on the MCC agreement.
Under pressure from the leaders of the erstwhile CPN (Maoist Center) within the NCP, the then speaker Mahara had chosen not to expedite the process of endorsing the MCC agreement through the parliament during the budget session of parliament last year. Prime Minister KP Oli had later expressed dissatisfaction over Mahara's decision to put the MCC agreement on hold.
A statement issued by Mahara after his release seems to strike the same note as a section of party cadres who support him. “As a patriot Nepali, safeguarding country's independence was, is and will always remain my top priority. Nepal's national independence and independence of Nepali people has remained glorious since history and will always remain so,” he said in the statement.