Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba has claimed that rumors have been spread about the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).
"This MCC started from the terms of Baburam Bhattarai and Sushil Koirala. This did not come during my term only. This is what happened during my term—We sent a minister to America after taking Cabinet decision," Deuba stated organizing a press conference at his residence in Budhanilkantha on Friday. "This is a big grant, interest does not have to be paid. This is only grant."
He expressed displeasure at what he called false rumors about the MCC. "This is a grant given for free. Interest does not need to be paid. But all kinds of rumors have been spread saying the US army will arrive. Who will allow the US army to come to Nepal?" he asked. "Will I myself allow the US army to come? Why spread such false rumors?"
He added that there has been no discussion about passing the MCC Compact from the House. He, however, claimed that CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has pledged to help endorse the MCC.
The MCC has been stuck at the House for a long time. It was to enter the construction phase from June 30, 2020 after House endorsement as per the previous schedule but could not be passed as the then ruling CPN was bitterly divided over the issue.
But government officials have been insisting the MCC is still not dead pointing that nowhere is it written that the agreement will be revoked if it is not endorsed by the House by that date.
CPN had hotly debated MCC even during the standing committee meeting in December 2019 with the erstwhile Maoists and those from Madhav Kumar Nepal faction of CPN-UML opposing it saying it should only be passed if it becomes clear that it is not part of the Indo-Pacific Strategy floated by America.
The US embassy in Kathmandu later issued a 10-point statement clarifying that the MCC is not part of military affairs.
The press statement, which it said was in response to a large number of queries from Nepali citizens, politicians, and members of the media about the MCC, claimed that every Nepali government since 2012 has been in favor of the MCC and that there is no military component to the compact.
The issue was raised even during the central committee meeting that concluded on February 2 and the party formed a task force to address the issue. The party formed the task force led by senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal and including Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali and standing committee member Bhim Rawal as members on February 2 to study MCC to find out whether it is part of the American military strategy or not.
The task force recommended that it should not be endorsed without amendment. But Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali had put a 15-point dissenting opinion.
The party had discussed the MCC in many meetings leading up to the June 30 deadline but failed to reach agreement.