Dahal says SPP was agreed by the Oli government in 2019In 2019, Dahal, however, was co-chair of the party called NCP that was leading the government.
Amid raging controversy over the United States government’s State Partnership Program (SPP), CPN (Maoist Centre) chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal said on Thursday that Nepal agreed to the SPP when KP Sharma Oli was leading the government.
Dahal is a key coalition partner in the incumbent Sher Bahadur Deuba government.
“As a leader of the coalition, I want to declare from here that there won’t be any military agreement. The prime minister has also expressed his commitment to this effect,” said Dahal, while addressing a function organised at Paris Danda on the occasion of the memorial day of a Maoist leader Rit Bahadur Khadka. “Instead, the KP Oli government had signed the SPP agreement in 2019 and the fact is part of the history. We need to understand this.”
What Dahal appears to have omitted is that he was part of the party that Oli led in 2019 when he was leading the government.
After controversy erupted over the SPP, the US embassy in Kathmandu said on Wednesday that Nepal applied for the SPP in 2015 and again in 2017.
“The United States accepted Nepal’s application in 2019,” the embassy added.
The embassy’s claim, however, was challenged by the Nepal Army, saying no such agreement has been reached or will be reached in the future.
Dahal’s Maoist party had merged with Oli’s CPN-UML in May 2018 to form the Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
In 2019, the year referred by the embassy with regards to Nepal becoming part of the SPP, Oli and Dahal were co-chairs of the NCP.
It was after Oli’s refusal to hand over the government, Dahal had ratcheted up pressure on Oli.
After a long-drawn-out infighting, the NCP was invalidated in March 2021. Dahal rallied behind Deuba to oust Oli and install the Congress leader as the prime minister.
Now Dahal’s assertion that SPP was signed during the Oli government displays his duplicity once again, months after his similar double-dealing over the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
After vehemently protesting against the MCC, Dahal’s party voted for the US grant to ratify it from Parliament in February-end, just a day before the deadline.
On Thursday, Dahal, a two-time prime minister, also said that attempts were being made to spread rumours that the SPP is going to be signed by the incumbent coalition government.
“The coalition will stand firmly for Nepal’s sovereignty and development,” said Dahal.