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Who is Nambala Keshav Rao, the new aggressive chief of the naxalites

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    New Delhi, Nov 8: Gaganna alias Prakash alias Krishna alias Vijay alias Keshav alias Basava Raju alias BR alias Prakash alias Darapu Narasimha Reddy alias Narasimha. These are some of the aliases used by the new chief of the naxalites Nambala Keshav Rao, who took over from the 72 year old Muppala Lakshma Rao alias Ganapathy.

    Nambala Keshav Rao

    Rao took over as the chief of the CPI (Maoist), which was formed in 2004, following the merger with the Peoples' War Group, CPI (Marxist-Lennist) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India.

    Rao, an aggressive planner and strategist hails from Andhra Pradesh. His address has been listed as, "VillageJiyannapet, PS & Mandalam-Kotabommali, Dist-Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh." He is the son of late N Vasudeva Rao.

    Also Read | With a new chief at the helm, why the naxalites will get extremely aggressive now

    Who is Nambala Keshav Rao?

    He is an engineering graduate from the Regional Engineering College, Warrangal, which is now called the National Institute of Technology. He has been a second in command to Ganapathy and headed the Central Military Commission of the CPI (Maoists).

    Intelligence Bureau officials describe him as an aggressive cadre and a key strategist. He specialises in use of improvised explosive devices. He has been responsible for training several cadres in the use of IEDs.

    As the head of the CMC or Central Military Commission, he was responsible for planning and directing guerrilla activity. He was also in charge of chalking out the strategy and source arms and ammunition. He was also the overall in charge of the sub committees such as the Zonal Military Committee and Special Area Military Committee.

    Also Read | Why is India's most wanted man a naxalite and not a jihadi

    He is also well versed with the key areas that the naxals control in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chattisgarh.

    When asked if there were differences between Ganapathy and Rao, officials said that they are most likely to work together. The movement would continue to draw from the ideology of Ganapathy, while Rao would be used for his military skills. He would also be tasked with bringing in new cadres into the movement. For long now, the naxalites have been speaking about the need for a second rung leadership. With Rao at the helm, he would be responsible for building that as well, officials also said.

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