This article investigates the causes of India's Maoist insurgency and its changing dynamics. To explain its origins, we empirically test three hypotheses using cross-state-level data: inequality of wealth in states; inefficient state government; and, disgruntled provocateurs. Our analysis reveals that insurgency is caused by inequality of wealth in states, not inefficient state governments and disgruntled provocateurs. Subsequently, we study variations in the number of Maoist attacks and the selected targets in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal using newspaper reports of events. Our analysis demonstrates that the numbers of incidents and the type of targets selected depend on electoral competition between regional political parties and their interactions with Maoists. The findings, therefore, indicate that whereas inequality of wealth can explain the insurgency's presence in states, political competition within states could explain its dynamics.