Describing the death of top Maoist leader Kishanji as a "big loss" for the left wing rebels, Maoist ideologue P. Varvara Rao said the movement will not be affected as the deceased had nurtured leaders to take his place.
"It's a big loss as he was one of the leaders who built the movement, working from the grassroots level," Rao told IANS on phone from Andhra Pradesh.
"But the movement will not be affected as he had been building up his comrades to be the future leaders and after him one of them will take his place," he added.
"Kishanji was a great leader and a strategist and also had literary skills. He could connect to the masses well. Along with his brother he attracted hundreds of people to the movement," Rao said.
"He also shared good relations with the media. Though his leadership abilities will be missed, the movement will go on," said the Maoist ideologue, who was considered by Kishanji as his idol.
He credited Kishanji for building the rebel movement in West Bengal.
"After working closely with his comrades in Andhra Pradesh, he moved to Bengal in 1990. Since then he had been building the movement there. After Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand he proved that Bengal too can be an important centre for the movement."
"Decades after the Naxal movement in Bengal, it was Kishanji who brought back the Left (rebel) movement in the state," Rao said.
Kishanji was also responsible for the unity of the revolutionary parties and the formation of the Communist Party of India-Maoists (CPI-Maoists), he said.
About the peace initiatives by the West Bengal government, he said: "The Maoists are always for talks, provided the government withdraws the joint forces from Junglemahal."
"Kishanji's death will in no way affect the intention of the Maoists for peace talks. They are always there for peace."
He also ruled out any retaliatory move by the rebels to avenge the death of their leader. "Maoists do not retaliate. Their form of retaliation is resistance. Resistance against atrocities and misgovernance."