New Delhi, Nov 7: A leadership change, followed by a plethora of surrenders. There was plenty of activity, where the naxalites were concerned. The police probing the killing of a TDP MLA and a former lawmaker at Araku has revealed that the top naxalite leader, Muppala Lakshman Rao alias Ganapathy has been replaced.
The new chief of the naxalites now is Nambala Keshav Rao, who originally hails from Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh. The decision to change the leader was taken as the naxalites wanted a younger man to head the outfit.
Moreover a large number of the cadres felt that in order to get more aggressive, a new and young leader should be appointed. Ganapathy has headed the CPI (Maoist) since it was formed in 2004. The outfit was merged with the Peoples' War Group, CPI (Marxist-Lennist) and the Maoist Communist Centre of India.
With a change in leadership, the naxalites want to infuse fresh life into the movement. With the security agencies attaining major success in bringing down the naxal spread, the cadres felt the need for a regime change. Further the number of naxal surrenders have gone up and each one of them has cited disillusionment as the primary reason. It may be recalled that earlier this week a total of 64 naxalites surrendered in Chhattisgarh stating that they were disillusioned with the ideology.
After Rao took over, there have been two major incidents and the modus operandi suggests that the new strategy would be more aggressive. The first was killing of the two leaders at Araku. They were surrounded by 50 naxals and ten of them opened fire on the two leaders.
The other incident took place in Chhattisgarh last week, when a Doordarshan cameraman and two security personnel were killed. Both according to the security agencies were hits ordered by the new chief.
An Intelligence Bureau official told OneIndia that this change is clearly aimed at breathing new life into the movement. Ganapathy has led for long. He is 72 years old and cannot lead the movement as effectively. The new chief on the other hand is 63 and has ample experience. For the security forces, this would be a new challenge as Keshav Rao is known for his aggressive tactics.
The IB officer also said that this change could also be a way of reducing the heat on Ganapathy, who today is India's most wanted man. The total bounty on him is Rs 2.52 crore.
While the bounty offered by the NIA stands at Rs 15 lakh, the overall bounty on Ganapathy is at Rs 2.5 crore. This includes the sum offered by the states such as Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. This amount is in fact 10 times that of what has been offered for Dawood Ibrahim.
The governments of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh have offered Rs 1 crore each to anybody providing information regarding Ganapathy. In addition to this the Andhra Pradesh government has announced Rs 25 lakh, the NIA, Rs 15 lakh and the government of Jharkhand, Rs 12 lakh.
The sum total stands at Rs 2.52 crore. Ganapathy according to Intelligence Bureau files is the most dangerous who has the sole intention of overthrowing a democratically elected government.
Keshav Rao has been Ganapathy's second in command for long. He carries a bounty of Rs 10 lakh, that has been offered by the NIA.