Oli, once again, cancels party’s Secretariat meeting called to discuss MCCPrime minister’s aide says the meeting was called off as Oli was exhausted, but the party leaders are not convinced.
The Secretariat meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party called on Sunday to discuss the Millennium Challenge Corporation Nepal Compact was called off at the last hour, citing Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s exhaustion.
It was the second time the scheduled meeting of the party’s Secretariat got cancelled in less than a week’s time owing to Oli, also the co-chair of the party, much to the displeasure of the leaders.
The other Secretariat leaders have expressed dissatisfaction with Oli for repeatedly cancelling the meeting called to discuss the MCC, a US aid programme which has become a controversial issue within the party.
Though Oli’s aides claimed that Sunday’s meeting was postponed due to his exhaustion, the leaders were not convinced.
“The prime minister used to rest during afternoons. But yesterday he was at the House till evening. So he felt exhausted and therefore the meeting was stalled,” said Ram Sharan Bajagain, Oli’s communication expert.
The leaders who were invited to the meeting were not given a clear reason behind cancellation of the meeting, an aide to one of the Secretariat leaders told the Post.
“Earlier, they used to inform why the meeting was cancelled, be it the prime minister’s busy schedule or any other reasons, but today there was no explanation,” said the aide.
Frequent cancellation of the party meetings, according to party insiders, only goes to show that Oli calls the meeting only when the situation falls in his favour.
“It’s Oli’s established trend to call the meetings only after a situation comes in his favour,” said Haribol Gajurel, a Standing Committee member of the party.
Oli is said to be under pressure to pass the MCC, but some party leaders are not allowing him to do so.
Some party insiders say Oli has been stalling the Secretariat meetings as he is working to bring some party leaders into his fold. Oli has been trying to win the confidence of senior leader Bamdev Gautam by offering him the post of deputy prime minister and finance minister.
Oli has been sending General Secretary Bishnu Poudel to negotiate this offer with Gautam, who has remained unswayed thus far.
“Prime Minister Oli has been trying to appease Gautam with different proposals including the positions of senior deputy prime minister and finance minister, but the latter has not accepted any of these offers,” an aide to Gautam told the Post.
With the July deadline for the implementation of the US-funded programme approaching, the ruling party is running out of time. Oli’s indecision at this moment has not helped with the situation at all.
Earlier, the Secretariat meeting scheduled for June 9 was called off due to Oli’s busy schedule. Oli had also skipped the May 30 Secretariat meeting which was also called to discuss the MCC.
The latest meeting was called after the government’s budget included MCC related projects.
The ruling party leaders are divided over whether the $500 United States programme should be ratified by Parliament. A section within the party has argued that parliamentary ratification of the programme could undermine Nepal’s sovereignty.
Since most of the ruling party leaders are against endorsing the MCC from Parliament without some amendments as suggested by the high-level study panel, led by senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal, the fate of MCC Nepal Compact hangs in the balance.