With just three days to go before the Maoists’ deadline to government for meeting their demands ends, their chief Prachanda has suddenly left for Singapore, a visit being seen as politically significant as ailing ex-premier G P Koirala is also there for treatment.

Though Prachanda’s aides said his visit is aimed at meeting with his party’s sympathisers who have been staying in Singapore, the Maoist leader told reporters before leaving Kathmandu that he would also meet Koirala.

Prachanda, who had quit as premier in May after the President overrruled his decision to sack the army chief, has served a November 19 ultimatum to the government to fulfil their demands of establishing “civilian supremacy” and allowing a debate on the President’s move in Parliament.

The Maoists had laid to a two-day siege at a key administrative complex here for two days last week and have threatened stepped up protests if the government does not pay heed to them. From his hospital bed, Koirala, the Nepali Congress patriarch and an influential leader, had appealed to the former rebels to withdraw their agitation.

The 86-year-old, suffering from pneumonia and having low oxygen level in the blood, was taken to Singapore in an air ambulance on Saturday.

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