Moderates among Maoists favour re-look at strategy
K. Srinivas Reddy
Want leaders to concentrate on strengthening mass base before taking on State forces
# Go by to voluntary participation of people in struggles criticised
# Killing of two important leaders changes things
# Maoists need to win back public support, say leaders
HYDERABAD: The successful police offensive against naxalites, which saw the elimination of several top leaders this year, is likely to trigger a serious ideological debate among the Maoist cadres in the State.
Murmurs of dissent were audible among the rank and file of the underground party, if not openly, on the propriety of the strategies and tactics being employed in the face of severe setbacks the movement had suffered during the last two or three years.
While most decision-makers in the Maoist hierarchy in the State strongly supported the intensified Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) to blunt the police onslaught, moderates wanted to the party have a re-look at them and concentrate on strengthening the mass base before making any attempt to take the State forces head on.
Key component lacking
The criticism against the party leadership was that in the process of waging the "people's war," the essential component of revolutionary warfare, voluntary participation of people was given a go by. Even as this ideological debate was on, came the killing of two strong votaries of the TCOC, the Andhra Pradesh State Committee secretary Burra Chinnaiah alias Madhav and State Military Commission (SMC) member Matta Ravi Kumar in recent encounters.
The other two leaders, Sudhakar, secretary of the Andhra Orissa Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), and Sakhamuri Appa Rao, SMS secretary, who had reportedly backed them, had a narrow escape.
While Sudhakar escaped with bullet wounds when the police surrounded him in Vizianagaram, Appa Rao had been challenged in face-to-face encounters at least four times by the police this year.
Appa Rao is now believed to have shifted base to Bastar or in AOB area in view of a relentless hunt launched by the police. These two leaders were believed to have backed Madhav and Ravi Kumar with regard to the implementation of TCOC strategy.
Focus on mass base
The argument for building the mass base had been gaining ground and ever since, the Maoist cadres had to vacate the plain and semi-plain areas of North Telangana, once considered the 'beacon' of the Indian revolution.
Though the party leadership had justified the 'withdrawal of revolutionary forces' into the forest areas as part of the strategy of self-preservation during the 'ebb' phase of revolution, the leaders had to concede that this phase was a direct result of the party losing public support.
With the party cadres not organising any 'partial struggles' on local issues and concentrating heavily on violent action, sections of people - students, workers and the middle class - have distanced themselves from the revolutionary activity. The argument, which could gain ground now, is that these sections have to be won over rather than taking up military actions against the security forces.