General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), Ganapathy has been replaced by his second-in-command Nambala Keshava Rao aka Basavaraju.
According to a statement dated November 10 issued by the Maoists and circulated on social media, “71-year-old Muppala Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy has stepped down from his position due to his deteriorating health and age-related issues.” “Ganapathy proposed to appoint Basavaraju, currently heading the central military commission, as general secretary,” the statement added.
The two-page statement signed by Abhay, spokesperson of the central committee of Maoists also said, “The decision to elevate Basavaraju was approved during the fifth meeting of the central committee”.
Commenting on the development, Chhattisgarh Deputy Inspector General (anti-Naxal operations) Sundarraj P said the change of guard was a “symptom of the declining trend of the Naxal movement”.
“The security forces will focus on the strategy to counter the Left-wing extremism, irrespective of whether it is Ganapathy or Basavaraju or anyone else. CPI (Maoist) is an anti-national banned outfit and we will deal with it accordingly,” he added.
“If the news is true, it is an outcome of the offensive stand of the security forces and a cosmetic stunt by the Maoists to counter the ever-declining morale of its cadres”, the DIG said, adding that the authenticity of the statement was being verified.
“In the past, the Chhattisgarh government had announced a cash reward of Rs 1 crore each on Ganapathy and Basavaraju,” he concluded.
Notably, after the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) (People’s War) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC) merged to form the CPI (Maoist) in the year 2004, Ganapathy took charge as its general secretary. Ganapathy was also the general secretary of the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) (People’s War) from 1992 to 2004.
Basavaraju is said to specialise in imparting military training and use of explosives and landmines.