Villages are the backbone of Indian economy and great leaders play a key role in ushering in development at the grass-root level, former Minister Mandali Budha Prasad has said.

Addressing a meeting organised at the Freedom Fighters Association hall to commemorate Gude Mallikharjuna Rao, freedom fighter and former sarpanch of Kothapet village in Krishna district on the occasion of his second death anniversary on Sunday, the former Minister said that Mallikharjuna Rao was influenced by the Gandhian principles and took a plunge into politics. Mr. Buddha Prasad paid tributes to the several village-level ‘heroes' whose contributions went unsung. “Despite a long association with Mallikharjuna Rao, there were a very few occasions when we got to meet each other personally. But the fact that he served as the sarpanch of Kothapet village for three successive decades speaks volumes about his honesty and integrity.” Mr. Budha Prasad recalled that Gandhiji did not participate in the festivities that broke out on the occasion of Independence, because for him it was only a political freedom. Earlier, Mr. Budha Prasad released a book on Mallikharjuna Rao's contribution to the society as a whole and freedom of Paritala in particular. Former MLA and CPI city secretary K. Subba Raju said Mallikharjuna Rao represented a genre that strove for the welfare of mankind. He said Rao was a man of the masses and went on to explain how he went out of his way to serve people of his village.

Personality development trainer and management consultant M.C. Das described Mallikharjuna Rao as a ‘good human being'. Freedom fighters must shoulder the responsibility of inculcating a spirit of patriotism among the younger generations.

President of Krishna District Freedom Fighters' Association A.V. Appa Rao, chairman P. Srirama Murthy, general secretary V. Vamana Rao, senior journalist and freedom fighter Parakala Pattabhi Rama Rao, CPI Krishna district secretary Suryadevara Nageswara Rao and Managing Director of Dolphin Medical Services and son of Mallikharjuna Rao, G. V. Mohan Prasad were present.

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