Nepal Maoist chief resurfaces after 48 hours

Nepal`s media had speculated that Prachanda had been visiting the Indian town of Siliguri across the border.

Kathmandu: After dropping out of public eye for 48 hours and triggering intense speculation about his disappearance, the chief of Nepal`s ruling Maoist party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, reappeared in eastern Nepal on Sunday, remaining tight-lipped about where he had been.

The former revolutionary was seen at the domestic airport in Biratnagar, the city in eastern Nepal where he had been last seen Friday.

Saying that he had personal family matters to address, Prachanda added cryptically that knowledgeable people knew where he had been.

Nepal`s media on Sunday was agog about the disappearance, speculating that the Maoist chief had been visiting the Indian town of Siliguri across the border.

Prachanda had attended a Maoist programme in western Gorkha district on Friday along with the new Prime Minister from his party, Baburam Bhattarai, before flying to Biratnagar after the programme ended.

Accompanied by his wife Sita, son Prakash and a Maoist confidant, Haribol Gajurel, he is suspected of having made his way to Siliguri by road.

The visit, so quiet as to be virtually clandestine, triggered speculation that it could be a visit to sort out the marriage of Prachanda`s youngest daughter Ganga that has hit a rocky patch.

Ganga, who was said to be part of her father`s kitchen cabinet when he was prime minister, is married to Narayan Vikram Pradhan, son of Indian communist leader and former Indian MP Badri Narayan Pradhan.

The Pradhans live in Siliguri.

However, in the past, Prachanda had met Indian officials in Siliguri, especially from the Indian external intelligence agency RAW.

With Nepal now passing through another critical stage, there is also speculation that Prachanda could have met Indian officials and leaders to discuss the impasse in the peace process.

The new Bhattarai government has to ready the first draft of the new Constitution by November 30 or face collapse, like its two predecessors since 2009.