After the death of Mallojula Koteswara Rao alias Kishenji in an encounter with security forces in Bengal, many experts believed that the Naxal movement was headed downhill due to the demise of their most powerful leader.
But the recent daring strike on Congress leaders in Chhattisgarh has jolted security experts out of their reverie and proved that the ultra left-wing movement has found a new and formidable leader.
The man who calls the shots is 53-year-old Katakam Sudarshan, a member of the Communist Party of India - Maoist politburo.
Katakam Sudarshan is considered to be the ideological force behind the CPI-Maoist.
He roped in his most trusted aide -- Gaganna alias Ramesh -- to carry out the attack in Bastar, Chhattisgarh.
According to a dossier compiled by the Intelligence Bureau, Sudarshan heads the CPI-Maoist politburo and is in charge of the outfit..
Sudarshan started his stint in the extremist organisation by training in the jungles of Telangana; he gradually took over the control of the operations in Andhra-Orissa border areas.
The dossier describes him as being stocky, short and dark. He wears spectacles and has thick hair.
Sudarshan is a specialist in guerrilla warfare and is considered to be a master strategist.
For the horrific Dantewada massacre, in which 76 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed, Sudarshan laid the groundwork and carried out the operation.
He uses several aliases including Mohan, Birenderji and Anand. He has a reward of Rs 12 lakh on his head.
Sudarshan has 21 cases of murder registered against him in Andhra Pradesh.
Sudarshan set up the Maoist Peoples’ Guerrilla army to countered the central government’s offensive to combat Naxalism -- Operation Green Hunt.
It is believed that Sudarshan was given the task of assassinating Salwa Judum founder Mahendra Karma in 2006. In the next seven years, the Maoist leader tried to target the controversial politician many times, but failed in his attempts.
Sudarshan, who hails from Adilabad district in Andhra Pradesh, joined the Peoples’ War Group in 1980 after completing a polytechnic course from Warrangal.
He joined the Naxal movement to fight for the cause of the exploited tribals in north Telangana region. He is married to Sadhana, who was the secretary of the Adilabad district unit of the Maoists.