Ganapathi gives way to Basawraj to head CPI (Maoists)

The out-lawed CPI (Maoists) leadership has taken a see change. After heading the deadly armed outfit for over three decades, finally it’s founder general secretary  Muppala Lakshman Rao, alias Ganapthi, 72, was asked to set down, giving way for younger leadership. Already he became old and health condition said to be worst and unable to move.

He has made way for Namballa Keshav Rao, 63. While Ganapathi is from the Birpur village of Jagtial district in Telangana, Keshav Rao hails from Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.

Sources said that Ganapathi was asked to step down as general secretary after the CPI (Maoist) Central Committee decided to elevate a younger leader. Keshav Rao, Ganapathi’s second-in-command till recently, is better known by his alias Baswaraj and was head of the Maoists’ Central Military Commission.

Like many who joined the Maoists, Keshav Rao graduated from the Regional Engineering College in Warangal. While Ganapathi carries a reward of Rs 49 lakh on his head, police and investigation agencies of various states have placed a reward of Rs 36 lakh on Baswaraj’s head.

Top officials in the Telangana Police said that the change in leadership took place about two months ago. Telangana police are attributing the recent killing of a TDP MLA and former MLA in Araku, near Visakhapatnam,  to the tactics of Ganapathi’s successor Baswaraj, who is known to be very aggressive.

Ganapathi, the son of a landowning farmer, is a graduate in science and did his B.Ed from Karimnagar College. He was instrumental in the merger of People’s War Group (PWG) – founded by Kondapalli Seetharamaiah – with the Maoist Communist Centre of India. This resulted in the formation of CPI (Maoist) in 2004.

He had hijacked PWG leadership from Kondapalli and said to be instrumental in `elimination’ of several close association of Kondapalli whether in police encounters, or other way.

The Maoists have been experience some serious setbacks in recent years, and have been nearly wiped out of both the Telugu states. Except in Chhattisghar forest area and Andhra-Odissa boarder they are said to be n ot in a compative mood. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singhc claiming that their presence was restricted to about one third area of their operation.

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