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From Maoist To Ambedkarite: Poet Gaddar Floated 'Gaddar Preja Party' Months Before Death, Was Set To Contest Polls

After decades of association with the Maoist movement, Gaddar floated a new political party named 'Gaddar Preja Party' (GPP) in June and had announced he would contest the Telangana assembly elections slated to be held later this year.

Poet Gaddar died on Sunday. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons CC SA 4)
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Just months before he was slated to enter electoral politics, revolutionary poet Gaddar died in Hyderabad on Sunday. He was 77. 

After decades of association with the Maoist movement, Gaddar floated a new political party named 'Gaddar Preja Party' (GPP) in June and had announced he would contest the Telangana assembly elections slated to be held later this year. 

It was only in 2017 that Gaddar severed ties with the Maoists. He voted for the first time in the Telangana assembly elections in 2018, as per Deccan Chronicle. 

Gaddar, whose real name was Gummadi Vittal Rao, is the founder of Jana Natya Mandali, the cultural wing of the People’s War Group (PWG), according to Hindustan Times. The PWG was formally known as the Communist Party of India—Marxist Leninist-People’s War (CPI—ML-PW). The CPI—ML-PW is a proscribed organiation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. 

Prior to launching GPP, Gaddar was a member of Praja Shanthi Party (PSP), which suspended him soon after the announcement of the new party. 

After announcing the new party, Gaddar said it would fight for the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution of India. 

"Since the right to live itself is endangered, our party will fight to safeguard this basic right guaranteed by the Constitution of India. People's flag and agenda will be the party's flag and agenda...I earlier announced that I will contest against Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao. This was my individual decision. Now that I have launched the party, let the party decide from where I should contest," said Gaddar, as per Deccan Chronicle. 

For a long time, Gaddar was an icon among the Maoists and was also known for work on human rights and participation in the Telangana statehood movement. 

The pledged participation in electoral politics was a major turnaround for Gaddar who as a Maoist had campaigned against elections for a long time. 

"During his stint with the Maoist party, Gaddar strongly campaigned against electoral politics and called for a boycott of elections," reported IANS, adding that Gaddar in 2017 shunned Maoism and announced himself as an Ambedkarite. 

In his book Hello Bastar: The Untold Story Of India's Maoist Movement, Rahul Pandita called Gaddar "legendary balladeer".

"Maoists ideologues like the legendary balladeer Gaddar would travel from one village to another, talking about hunger, deprivation, marginalisation, caste bias, and sing songs on 'martyrs' like Peddi Shankar," writes Pandita in the book about Gaddar.

Previously, there had been speculation that Gaddar could join the Congress party — which has published kind tributes following his death. Congress tweeted that Gaddar "will forever remain in our memories" and the "void left by his absence is irreplaceable". 

In 2004, Gaddar was among the emissaries of the Maoists in talks with the government along with Varavara Rao and Kalyan Rao. 

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