First Mayor of the city, T. Venkateswara Rao, popularly known as TV, passed away at the age of 97. The veteran Communist leader has many credits for development of the city and the CPI. TV played a crucial role in the development of the city. He was known for dedication, discipline, and vision. TV had felt that the Left movement in the country could regain its glory if the unification of Left parties was a reality. In 2011, he dashed off a letter to former CPI general secretary A. B. Bardhan and CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat stressing the need for merger of Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
There was no alternative to unconditional reunification or merger of all Left forces in the wake of comprehensive debacle in West Bengal and Kerala (2011). The drubbing was a warning to all Left forces in the country with a clear message –‘change or perish'. There was a need to resume the rebuilding process of the Indian Communist movement to tide over the disadvantages of division of the Left forces, he said in the letter. The Left parties failed to live up to the socio-political and economic changes that took place in the country. They also failed to analyse the changes and evolve the corrective strategy and tactics. The ruling class, whereas, had transformed its strategy to penetrate into Left’s vote bank. Rough comparison indicates that the percentage of votes in Andhra Pradesh polled for the Left parties fell from 35 per cent in 1952-55 to 3.5 per cent in 2009, he had pointed out in the letter.
TV was at loggerheads with the TDP government when he had served as Mayor, and was short of launching hunger strike demanding release of funds to the VMC. He had favoured Mayor in Council system for better transparency and governance. He did not tolerate the superseding of the decisions of the general body by Municipal Commissioner. Probably, it was only occasion where a Municipal Commissioner was surrendered to the government. The general body under his leadership had passed a unanimous resolution asking the State government to recall the then municipal commissioner M. Nageswara Rao for not adhering to budgetary allocations made by the general body and overriding its decisions, says CPI city secretary Donepudi Sankar.