In the dusty villages outside Warangal—the heart of the Telangana region in Andhra Pradesh—they are still wondering which god it was who played ‘foul’ by bestowing such good fortune on chief minister Chandrababu Naidu. The mine laid by the outlawed Peoples’ War (PW) had found its target—the chief minister’s car. But he had a miraculous escape. Here, in Naxal territory, Naidu is no ceo of the state but an ‘enemy’ of the people. Those fighting the ‘revolution’ are the heroes. And the ‘army’ had struck where it hurts. "See, in Hyderabad they say the movement is dead. But the PW is still very much around," says a 19-year-old agricultural labourer, withholding his name. The attack on the chief minister has come as a shot in the arm for an outfit which has been on the decline in the last two years, and on the run from the police.
But this does not mean that the PW had been completely marginalised. Such is the level of indoctrination among villagers, particularly the youth, that in Telangana hating the landlords and class enemies is virtually a religion for many. "I am happy about the attack but if it had been fully successful we would have been celebrating a real Dussehra," says Vaddepalli Srinu. An undergraduate student at a Warangal college, Srinu worked underground with the PW for three years till his arrest last June. He claims he will return to fight for the ‘revolution’. But not immediately, as he fears police retaliation on his family and because "most of the old networks have been destroyed".