If the September 2004 merger of several Naxal groups signaled a new beginning in relation to the course of the Maoist Movement in India, January-February 2007 when the CPI (Maoist) conducted its 9th Party Congress, signals yet another phase in the cycle of Maoist insurgencies in India.. The Naxal leadership views this as a grand success since the Maoists were holding a unity congress after a gap of 36 years - their 8th Congress was held in 1970. The Maoists claim that the Congress resolved the disputed political issues in the Party through lively, democratic and comradely debate and discussion. This Maoist claim hints at the new developments within the politics of Naxalism. It is also significant for the admission of the existence of 'inter-organizational' and 'intra-organizational' conflict within the political gamut of CPI (Maoist).
The merger of the CPI (ML-PW) and MCC-I that resulted in the birth of CPI (Maoist), also successfully brought the dominant faction of CPI (ML-Janashakti) to its fold. Amidst speculations of merger, both the Janashakti and CPI (Maoist) presented a united front in 2005. A death toll of 892 persons that year was largely believed to be a result of the merger.. The Naxal Movement, however, continued to conquer new territories in 2006 though it witnessed only 749 deaths, lesser then the previous year. In 2005, Naxal violence was reported from 509 police stations across 11 states, while in 2006, 1427 police stations in 13 states came under the shadow of the red terror. Other than the escalation in violence, the latter part of 2006 also witnessed significant changes in the operational ways of the Naxal Movement.
The honeymoon between the CPI (Maoist) and Janashakti could not last longer than a year and in 2006 it became apparent that both were clearly going different ways to occupy operational areas. During the open session of the CPI (Maoist) held in December 2006, Janashakti was asked to make clear its stand on political aims and programmes; Janashakti, however, chose not to attend the session. Consequently, the CPI (Maoist) withdrew the partner status from Janashakti and decided to provide need-based support only in the case of police actions. The conflict between the CPI (Maoist) and Janashakti became public only recently, when the Orissa Janashakti group led by Anna Reddy killed three forest officials on 31 January 2007. The CPI (Maoist) state leadership immediately distanced itself from the killings. Subsequent police enquiry confirmed the involvement of the Janashakti group in the gruesome act.
Of course, things are at a formative stage today; the setting is ready for a possible realignment of the Maoist forces. In Karnataka, which is largely viewed as the new Naxal target, the CPI (Maoist) recently suffered a major set back as a number of cadres in the state, who disagreed with the Maoist agenda of intensifying the revolution in rural areas first and then spreading it to urban centers, have floated a new party named the Maoist Coordination Committee (MCC). It should be noted that the political cracks in Karnataka have now started to extend to other states. Internationally, in 2006, though CPI (Maoist) and CPN (Maoist) suffered an estranged relationship, Naxals were, during the same period, successful enough to establish a link with the powerful Russian armed mafias.
The forty years of Naxal presence in India underlines certain distinct characteristics. First, Naxal history has been a history of conflicts and splits; one cannot deny, however, that it also represents the history of mergers. Second, the Naxal Movement essentially represents simultaneous, albeit not so peaceful coexistence of many streams and viewed from this angle the movement does have a presence in all parts of the country. This implies that the inseparable character of organizational conflict has actually helped the movement to grow in different areas. Third, the growth of the Naxal movement is closely linked with the ongoing process of organizational conflict. The ultimate political objective behind all this organizational exercise is to build a leftist alternative to capture political power through the process of 'revolutionary war.'
The formation of the CPI (Maoist) was not the final stage of the Naxal Movement; the ultimate aim of the Naxal movement is the seizure of state power and in the process, the movement need not always take a linear route. With new national and international variables taking shape, the politics of Naxalism is bound to accommodate these changes; hence, it is necessary that the government take notice of these changes at an early stage. While the Naxal Movement has always surprised others with its adaptability, the government responses so far have been mostly predictable. In view of the Maoist claim of a 'deciding phase,' the government must think resourcefully, speculate on the new forms that will emerge, and construct new frames of reference that will serve as the foundation for strategy formulation and policy implementation. The success of future counter-Naxal programmes will depend on successful integration of intelligence, law enforcement, information operations, targeted military force, and civil affairs.