VISAKHAPATNAM: With virtually no fresh recruitment and fast dwindling support of villagers in the last few years, the Maoist Party is in leadership crisis. According to sources, 15 of the 24 members in the partycentral committee
are over 60 years and recent pandemic coupled with vector-borne diseases in the jungles has further weakened the extremists. The recent death of Akkiraju Haragopal alias RK has added to the crisis.
Though the leadership baton was passed on to Basavaraj from Ganapati two years ago, the outlawed extremist group has been struggling. There has been no replacement to the Maoist leaders and cadre killed in encounters or due to ailments..
While six members of the central committee and politburo died, two others had surrendered to the police in the last six years leaving a big vacuum. Moreover, eight members of the 20-plus central committee, and four of the 12 politburo members are believed to be undergoing treatment for various health issues. Sources said there is no potential second-rung leadership in all stages of the organisational setup.
It is estimated that the Maoist Party once had more than 20,000 armed cadres and around two lakh militia members across the nation. Now it has come down to less than 7,000 armed cadres and a few thousand militia members. Student wings like Radical Students’ Union (RSU) and Radical Youth League (RYL) and farm labour committees have no support base.
Information gathered by intelligence agencies recently indicates that there were only 18 central committee members now as against more than 35 in 2010. A few members were inducted 18 months ago to increase the number to 24. The highest body in theMaoists
party, the politburo, has only 12 members as against 20 a decade ago.
Central Committee leaders Akkiraju Haragopal alias RK of Andhra Pradesh,Ravula Srinivas
, and Haribhushan of Telangana, Dev Kumar Singh alias Aravind of Bihar, Narayana Sanyal of Bengal,Sridhar Srinivasan
of Tamil Nadu and Purledu Mukherji of Bengal died in the last six years. Central committee members includingOggu Satwaji
and Jeenugu Narasimha Reddy alias Jampanna surrendered.
Around 10 Maoists' top guns, including the new chief Namballa Kesava Rao alias Basava Raj are in both politburo and central committee. Ten of the top Maoist leaders are from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Police statistics show Maoists had around 350 to 400 armed cadres in Andhra-Orissa border along with around ,2000 to 3,000 militia members. But the number has now come down to less than 100.
“There is no quality recruitment though the Maoists had some recruitment with uneducated tribals who would not sustain long. Cops are now reaching communities in villages. They are also carrying out focussed operations,” Visakha rural SP B Krishna Rao said