The recent death of members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in an operation by the security forces on the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border is a big blow to the outlawed group. The joint operation was led by anti-Naxalite units of the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha police in Malkangiri district in Odisha.

Declining influence of Maoists
1. The military setbacks apart, the Maoists are today diminished politically as well. The desertion of their top tribal leaders and the surrender of tribal cadres have set the Maoists on the back foot.
2. The Maoists have been unable to expand as a political force in the plains areas; and as a guerrilla force they have been limited to the remote and hilly tribal belt of central India. 

Position of Maoists earlier
Not too long ago, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had identified the Maoist movement as the biggest internal security threat. Buoyed by the unification of various Naxalite outfits into one party in 2004, they had consolidated themselves in some districts, taking advantage of the weak presence of the welfare and administrative agencies. But by subordinating political activism to militarism they have done little for tribal empowerment; instead, they settled for a war of attrition against the state. 

Evaluate of State Strategy against Maoists
The state on its part has adopted dual strategy of containing the military threat of the Maoists and expanding its developmental footprint in these districts. After driving the Maoists away from undivided Andhra Pradesh into parts of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha, development strategy has been implemented unevenly and with mixed results. A state of civil war along with tribal repression, persists in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region. In other parts, the implementation of development and welfare programmes has been slow. Greater political will is needed to address these shortcomings.