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A mission with 'precision' Baton beckons rebel brother

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By PRONAB MONDAL
  • Published 25.11.11
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Calcutta, Nov. 24: The CPI (Maoist) is likely to ask Venugopal Rao, Kishan’s younger brother, to take charge of the Bengal unit.

Venugopal is the chief of the intelligence wing of the outfit and also a politburo member. He started visiting Bengal since March 2009, during the Lalgarh movement.

According to sources in the government’s Intelligence Branch, Venugopal visited the remote villages in and around Lalgarh, Belpahari, Salboni and Goaltore along with Kishan. This was part of the Maoist strategy to mobilise opinion in favour of the rebels.

Venugopal began to visit Lalgarh and other Jungle Mahal areas in West Midnapore more frequently after Kishan was reportedly injured in a gun battle with the security forces inside the Hatilot forest near Lalgarh in March last year.

“One of the factors that is likely to make Venugopal the most eligible candidate for the Bengal post is his knowledge of the topography of West Midnapore’s Jungle Mahal. He knows the area better than the others in the party,” an IB official said.

The CPI (Maoist) leadership is expected to hold a discussion on Kishan’s successor at a politburo meeting. If names other than Venugopal’s are proposed, they too will be considered. With Kishan’s suspected death, there are 11 politburo members at present.

According to IB sources, Venugopal’s ability to organise mass movements could tilt the scales in his favour. The sources said since the CPI (Maoist) had not been able to create a liberated zone in Bengal as it had done in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and parts of Odisha, the rebels depended on organising mass movements to spread its ideals in Bengal.

“There is no reason to believe that the rebel menace has now come to an end in Bengal. Since the outfit has a strong organisational set-up and believes in armed struggle against the government, it keeps the next set of soldiers ready,” an officer said.