"Kishenji as an individual does not matter, because (the Maoists) are supported by anti-national, reactionary forces. There is no reason to think that they will lose their punch with the death of an individual," Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Surjya Kanta Mishra said.
Mishra said, "I would have been happy if he had been caught alive. I offer my sympathies to his family."
Fifty-eight-year-old Molajula Koteswar Rao, better known as Kishenji, was today killed in an encounter with the joint forces at Burisole forest in West Midnapore district.
Appealing to the Maoists to shun violence and join the mainstream, Mishra, also a member of CPI-M central committee, said, "I appeal to them to leave the wrong path. If they believe in Leftism and anti-imperialism, they must come to the mainstream." He refused to comment on whether the killing of the Maoist leader was a success for the joint forces currently operating in the area.
It is true that Kishenji was behind the killing of many of our party leaders and activists, but this is not the time to discuss success or failure, Mishra said, adding, "Nothing has happened to cause a celebration."
Sujato Bhadra, leader of the interlocutors team set up by the West Bengal government to negotiate peace with the Maoists, refused comment on the incident, saying he would come out with a statement only after discussing the matter with others in the team.