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Patna, March 27: A Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader was shot dead by suspected Maoist guerrillas in Bihar's Begusarai district, the police said Thursday.

A motorcycle-borne guerrilla Wednesday night opened fire at Ram Pukar Mahto near his residence in Pakhtaul village, police officials said.

Mahto was a member of the Begusarai district committee of the CPI-M.

The district was once called the Leningrad of Bihar as it was a strong support base of the communists. But after the 1980s, the leftists were reduced to a minority.

Now the Maoists are trying to increase their network and activities in the district.

A few months ago, the suspected guerrillas blasted the house of CPI-M leader Dinesh Singh.