THE ELUSIVE MASTERMIND
Police officials in Chhattisgarh say the orders for this targeted killing of politicians almost certainly flowed down from the top of the Maoist pyramidical structure: The politburo. Muppala Lakshman Rao, 63, as general secretary heading the Maoists’ 14- member central committee, was personally seen supervising the training of the cadres in Bastar. Also known as Ganapathy (‘ leader of the forces’), he has been responsible for the resurgence of the Maoists after a two- year lull. Under him, specialists from Andhra Pradesh had started training cadre formations of the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army in the recesses of Bijapur and Sukma districts.
The swarthy, soft- spoken and bespectacled Ganapathy is an unlikely leader of one of Asia’s largest guerrilla armies. The former schoolteacher from Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh, commands 10,000 armed cadres who operate in a 40,000 km swathe across Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar. Yet he remains a shadowy figure who was sighted last in Rourkela and Behrampur in 2002 and 2003. He carries a reward of Rs 24 lakh on his head but all intelligence agencies have is a grainy picture from 1977 when he was arrested for violence and