As the CPI (Maoist) Monday completely disowned its former leader Gummudavelli Venkatakrishna Prasad alias Sukhdev alias Gudsa Usendi by citing his severe “character flaws”, it only found itself facing a difficult question, why it continued with such a proven defaulter for long, and even appointed him to a highly prominent post.
Prasad, former spokesperson of the Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee Spokesperson, had surrendered with Santoshi Markam, he claimed to be his wife, before the Andhra police last week, creating ripples across the Maoist zone. He claimed that he surrendered due to his failing health with prior permission of the party.
In a statement to reporters, a copy of which is with The Indian Express, Prasad’s boss DKSCZ Secretary Ramanna junked his claim and noted that he left the party for money and a woman. Santoshi Markam alias Lalita was just a party cadre, who was working with Sukhdev in the Press Division, and “eloping with a woman leaving his wife behind shows his character,” Ramanna said.
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Sukhdev, according to Ramanna, joined the party in 1980s but left the party in 1993 when “the party was facing several problems at both militarily and organizational level”. He lived a peaceful life outside until 1997, and was re-inducted “after the party duly examined his conduct”.
Later also, Ramanna claimed, “many of his weaknesses came to the knowledge of the party and the party took many steps to rectify those”. Among his major flaws noticed were “ego, bureaucratic approach and patriarchy”. In 1999, he was punished by the party for having an affair with another woman.
He married his present wife Raji, whom he has now left behind, in 2003 after his first wife was killed in an encounter.
Ramanna also refuted the Andhra police claim that Prasad surrendered following differences with the central leadership. “If he had any differences with the party, they could be addressed while remaining within the party. The party is very open about such discussions,” he said.
Prasad’s case is curiously similar to former Central Committee member Lanka Papi Reddy alias Lachhana. Both are residents of Warrangal district. Reddy had surrendered before the then Andhra Pradesh Home Minister K Jana Reddy in a well publicized and covered event in February 2008.
Days after, the CPI (Maoist) had issued a statement that completely disowned Reddy and added that he had committed “serious mistakes” and misbehaved with some woman cadre. Still, like Prasad he continued to be in the party until the surrender.