Now, with Deuba being Prime Minister once again, the debate surrounding the MCC is likely to put a strain on his ruling coalition, made up of Dahal’s Maoist Centre and Madhav Kumar Nepal’s breakaway CPN (United Socialist) which are opposed to the project.
On the other hand, the Nepali Congress and another coalition partner Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) seem open to ratifying the agreement in Parliament, but they do not have enough numbers in the House for it to be successful. Deuba has been sending feelers to the opposition UML to see if it will back the ratification in Parliament.
For his part, Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been saying that the MCC is a conspiracy to break the ruling alliance. However, experts see Dahal’s position on the MCC as being inconsistent and opportunistic. He went along with the project, and then weaponised it during his power struggle with Oli.
“It should not come as a surprise to anyone if the ruling coalition collapses because of the MCC,” says political analyst Punaranjan Acharya, who adds that it is not Prime Minister’s Deuba’s intention to go against the agreement, but that of the “so-called” communist parties in Deuba’s alliance.
“The prime minister has tried to be transparent regarding the matter,” says Acharya. “The problem is with the double-dealing leaders of the coalition partners.”
Former speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who resigned from his position in 2019 following allegations of rape, said last year in a statement that he had been falsely accused for opposing the MCC. His successor Agni Prasad Sapkota has also blocked the MCC Compact for discussion on the House floor.
Rastriya Janamorcha Party Chairman Chitra Bahadur KC, who is a member of Deuba’s coalition, says that the MCC will not be allowed to reach Parliament, and will not be ratified in the event it is presented before the House.
“We continue to oppose the MCC, which is not even included in the coalition’s Common Minimum Program,” says KC.
Constitutional expert Bipin Adhikari says it would be ironic if the MCC is not allowed to be presented before the people’s representatives in the House because of the political self-interest of the Speaker and other powerful political leaders.
Other analysts insist that the political process surrounding the MCC should be moved forward in a way that the project is ratified in the House without breaking the coalition and without the party whip being applied.
Read also: Putting the MCC in context, Jeevan R Sharma and David Seddon