Change of leadership on cards in CPI (Maoist)

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 12 Mar 2018 08:31:36


By Kartik Lokhande,


After around 14 years since the formation of Communist Party of India (Maoist), change of leadership is on cards. Muppala Lakshamana Rao alias Ganapathy, the current General Secretary of the banned anti-national organisation, is likely to step down owing to ill-health.

The talk of leadership change in CPI (Maoist), which has been described as the biggest internal security threat to the country, has been doing round for quite some time. However, according to sources, with Ganapathy’s health deteriorating due to his advancing age, the change is likely to be effected soon. Ganapathy, currently said to be 68 years old, is not keeping well and his knee pain has imposed severe restrictions on his movement. If he is to be replaced, sources said, Namballa Keshava Rao alias Ganganna alias Basavaraju alias Gagan Anna is likely to become next supreme commander of the Maoists in India.

Dr Abhinav Deshmukh, Superintendent of Police, Gadchiroli district, told ‘The Hitavada’ that the recently arrested senior Maoist leader ‘Tech Ramanna’ had revealed that Ganapathy was not keeping well. Owing to ill-health of Ganapathy, change in top leadership is likely to take place anytime. However, whether Namballa Keshava Rao or someone else would take over, was not yet known to the cops, he said.

‘Tech Ramanna’ is the alias of Srinivas Madru (65), who was arrested on February 9 at Ballarpur in Chandrapur district along with his wife Padma. He had been a part of Naxalite/Maoist organisation since 1976 and had worked closely with the veteran leaders like Kondapalli Sitharamaiah. He was serving as a Member of Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee of CPI (Maoist), when he was arrested. It was believed by agencies that Ganapathy also was shifting bases in Dandakaranya zone. According to a few reports, ‘Tech Ramanna’ had told the cops that CPI (Maoist) was facing a ‘leadership crisis’ as the top leadership was growing older.

Against this backdrop, Ganapathy is likely to step down anytime and hand over the reins of CPI (Maoist) to someone younger than him. The top contender for the position is Namballa Keshava Rao, who is Secretary of a powerful Central Military Commission of CPI (Maoist). He is also a Member of the Polit Buro. Though he also is above 60 years of age, he is said to be aggressive in approach. If he becomes General Secretary of CPI (Maoist), he may prove to be a headache for the security agencies as he and his supporters within Maoist fold are known to be in favour of violent activities.

According to sources, there is another dimension to the development. As per the agreement at the time of merger of erstwhile Peoples War and Maoist Communist Centre of India (MCCI) into CPI (Maoist) in 2004, it was decided that after Ganapathy, the next General Secretary would be from MCCI fold. However, the leaders from erstwhile Peoples War have been dominating the Polit Buro as well as Central Committee of CPI (Maoist), and MCCI leaders not being very forthcoming.

The other Polit Buro members include Mallaraji Reddy alias Murali alias Sayanna alias Shekhar, Katkam Sudarshan alias Anand, Mallojula Venugopal alias Bhupathi alias Sonu, Prashant Bose alias Kishan-da (former Working Secretary of MCCI before merger with Peoples War). Of them, 72-year-old Prashant Bose is the seniormost but he is described as ‘well past his prime’. All these factors go in favour of a younger leader taking over as the supreme commander of
the Maoists.