Already reeling from the death of military chief Kishenji and facing a leadership vacuum at the top, the insurgents have suffered the loss of yet another key figure.
Last November, Maoist insurgents suffered a devastating blow when their military leader, Mallojula Koteswara Rao, alias Kishenji, died in a gun battle with Indian security personnel in the forests along West Bengal's border with Jharkhand.
Since then, a succession of other key figures in the insurgency have been killed, captured or persuaded to surrender. Among the most notable is Communist Party of India (Maoist) state committee leader Arnab Dam, who goes by the nom de guerre Bikram.
He was nabbed on July 12th, in what security forces are hailing as one of their greatest successes since Kishenji's death.
"We had specific information that Bikram, an active member of the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army, the militant wing of the CPI (Maoist), would be arriving in Purulia to meet his party cadres to plan a major offensive in the region," Purulia superintendent of police C Sudhakar told Khabar South Asia.
"Because the party was losing its base in the region and had already been cut off from the local masses, he had planned to launch a subversive operation in the region to terrorise the local villagers and coerce them back into their [Maoist] fold," he said.
Analysts say the capture has robbed the Maoists of a potential leader at a time when they can ill afford to lose such figures. A former Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur student and holder of a science degree, Bikram's intellect had speeded his rise within the party and he had seemed destined for the top.
The arrest, however, has brought long-awaited relief for area villagers, who were seen rejoicing after the news was announced.
Dukhu Pradhan, whose wife and local village body (panchayat) chief Chapala Garat was killed in the Maoist-perpetrated Bagbindha massacre of 2010, told Khabar: "We want nothing less than capital punishment for Bikram."
Hemmed in by security operations, and vilified by locals, the insurgency is struggling to maintain credibility in the post-Kishenji era, experts say.
"The Maoists are indeed starved of good leaders and they have lost the edge with the common people. Their mass base has eroded with the rural folk having no sympathy for the ultras," said Prabal Mahato, a Delhi-based observer who has been following the Maoists activities closely in Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal.
According to Union Home Secretary G. K. Pillai, 22 top ultras have been killed since November. "Bikram's arrest should be seen as ringing another death-knell for the Maoist leadership," Mahato said.