With change of guard expected after the Assembly elections in five states in couple of months, the change in the CPI (Maoists) has already taken place. Known as Ganapathi (72), Muppala Lakshman Rao has stepped down from the top post paving the way for Namballa Keshav Rao (63). While Ganapathi hails from Birpur village of Jagtial district in Telangana, Keshav Rao is from Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.
According to sources, the CPI (Maoist) Central Committee asked Ganapathi to step down as general secretary, as they wanted to elevate a younger leader. It is to be known that Keshav Rao — Ganapathi’s second-in-command — has graduated from the Regional Engineering College in Warangal. Among the Maoists, he is known as Baswaraj and was the head of the Maoists’ Central Military Commission until recently.
Senior officials in the Telangana Police confirmed the reports and have stated that the change of guard took place two months ago. Police have set a reward of Rs 36 lakh on Baswaraj’s head, while Ganapathi carries a reward of Rs 49 lakh on his head.
Confirming the change, top police officer of Telangana Police said, as quoted by the Indian Express, “We are attributing the recent killing of a TDP MLA and former MLA in Araku to the tactics of Ganapathi’s successor Baswaraj, who is known to be very aggressive. The change of guard happened about two months ago after the CPI (Maoists) decided in a meeting that Ganapathi should make way for a younger leader.”