CPI(Maoist) offers VRS to aged and stressed leaders | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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CPI(Maoist) offers VRS to aged and stressed leaders

Party sources told HT that Nambala Keshava Rao, alias Vasavaraj, might have already replaced Mupalla Laxman Rao, alias Ganapathy, as the general secretary.

kolkata Updated: Oct 14, 2017 11:52 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
File picture of Nambala Keshava Rao, alias Vasavaraj, now 62, who is believed to have taken over from Ganapathy, 67, as the general secretary of CPI(Maoist). Ganapathy offered to step down to lead by example.
File picture of Nambala Keshava Rao, alias Vasavaraj, now 62, who is believed to have taken over from Ganapathy, 67, as the general secretary of CPI(Maoist). Ganapathy offered to step down to lead by example.(HT Photo)

CPI(Maoist) has announced a voluntary retirement scheme for its leaders, who are physically and mentally unfit. The eventual goal is to engineer an organisational overhaul and make the party a ‘lean and mean’ fighting machine.

The 67-year old general secretary of the banned party, Ganapathy (Mupalla Laxman Rao) is believed to have stepped down to set an example to the leaders down the ranks. He became the head of CPI(Maoist) in 2004.

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In a three-page circular distributed earlier this year and in possession of HT, the party said, “the comrades of physical and mental limitations must demonstrate revolutionary consciousness in identifying their limitations and voluntarily step out of their committees and come forward to take up responsibilities that they can do justice. The central and the state leadership must establish such an ideal in the party through their (own) practice.”

File picture of a training camp of the CPI(Maoist). Being agile and nimble footed is crucial to the functioning of the rebels. (HT Photo)

Stripped of the stolid style, it basically means, those who are aged and mentally stressed should relinquish responsibilities and take up overground activities, said a source associated with the party.

However, the document does not mention any cut off age to determine what the party means by “aged” leaders.

Read: No tea, oily food, movies or music: Maoists issues diktat to discipline cadres

“In areas of severe offensive the issue of protection of veteran comrades came forward. If the situation does not allow protection to the comrades we must try to send them to other movement areas or areas of no movement in the rural and urban areas. Comrades released from jail and suffering with old age and ill health must be told to live openly and take up responsibilities,” the circular states.

Though the Maoists have not made any formal announcement, there are reports that Ganapthy’s offer was accepted and that the names of Nambala Keshava Rao alias Vasavaraj, M Venugopal Rao alias Sonu and Kathakam Sudershan alias Anand were discussed as his successor.

Vasavaraj, aged around 62, heads the Central Military Commission; Sonu, 60, younger brother of slain Maoist leader Kishenji, is in-charge of the Maoist headquarters of Dandakaranya and Anand, 60, heads the central regional bureau. All of them are members of the politburo, the top decision-making unit.

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Sources said, majority of the 19-member central committee favoured Vasavaraj as Ganapathy’s successor.

“Despite Sonu being the youngest among the top Maoist leaders, Vasavraj was preferred because of the latter’s experience of working across Maoist territories,” said an intelligence officer.

Ganapathy, a former school teacher, joined the Naxalite movement in the early 1970s. He was arrested, released on bail and re-arrested in 1977. Following release in 1979, he went underground and became the Karimnagar district committee secretary of CPI(ML)(PW) when the outfit was formed in 1980.

A change of guard is also expected in the eastern regional bureau, headed by the party’s senior-most leader, the septuagenarian Prashanta Bose alias Kishan da, who has been suffering from multiple ailments. A first batch Naxal who joined Maoist politics in the mid-1960s and was based in south Bihar since 1970, Bose looks after party organisation in Jharkhand, West Bengal and parts of Bihar and Odisha.

The decision to relieve infirm and stressed leaders of responsibilities came when the Maoists have become weak in many areas of the country such as West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Maharastra and even their heartland of Chhattisgarh.