Deuba meets Oli after coalition meeting fails to arrive at conclusion on MCCThe prime minister is exploring multiple options to table the US compact in Parliament, Congress leaders say.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Thursday evening reached Balkot to meet CPN-UML chair KP Sharma Oli immediately after the meeting of the ruling coalition ended inconclusively in Baluwatar.
A Nepali Congress leader said the prime minister headed to Balkot after the coalition partners failed to arrive at consensus on the $500 million American grant’s parliamentary ratification.
A UML leader confirmed the meeting between Deuba and Oli.
“The prime minister is at our chairman’s residence,” the UML leader said.
The ruling coalition on Thursday discussed ways to find a way to table the Millennium Challenge Corporation-Nepal Compact in Parliament. But the meeting ended with an agreement to sit on Friday again.
“Top leaders have agreed to sit again at nine in the morning tomorrow [Friday],” said Ramesh Malla, an aide to Pushpa Kamal Dahal, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), a key coalition partner.
The Maoist Centre’s objection on Wednesday had forced the Sher Bahadur Deuba government to backtrack on its plan to table the Millennium Challenge Corporation-Nepal Compact in Parliament.
Maoist chair Dahal even threatened to pull out of the government, putting the coalition on the brink of breakdown.
There are five parties in the coalition government—Deuba’s Nepali Congress, Maoist Centre, CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajbadi Party and Rastriya Janamorcha.
While the Janata Samajbadi Party is divided on MCC’s parliamentary ratification, other three parties in the Congress-led government are dead against the compact.
Deuba had agreed to one more meeting of the coalition after Dahal made a request for the same.
Deuba is under pressure from Washington to ratify the compact by February 28, a deadline sought by him and Dahal.
After the government failed to table the compact despite saying it would do so, US Ambassador Randy Berry called on Deuba on Wednesday evening to inquire about the latest status.
Deuba on Thursday afternoon said that his party is committed to tabling the compact.
“It may pass or not pass… but it needs to be tabled,” said Deuba at a book launch programme in Kathmandu. “It’s true that MCC is in the best interest of the country. I am doing my best for its tabling and ratification.”
Congress leaders said Prime Minister Deuba is committed to tabling the compact and he has been exploring ways if his coalition partners continue to maintain a tough stance against it.