Rich tributes were paid to ‘Siris’ Raju, a veteran Congress leader and industrialist, who passed away recently, at a condolence meeting held at Seshasai Kalyanamandapam here on Thursday.

Cutting across party lines, several leaders and city elite highlighted the role of Raju in placing Vijayawada on the industrial and political map of India with his committed and dedicated pursuit.

“He played a key role in establishing Maris Stella College in Vijayawada and we are grateful to Mr. Raju for his untiring efforts. Right from acquiring land and establishing the college, his role is praise-worthy,” said a sister from the college. Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal said that Raju inspired him become an industrialist as he was overawed by the majestic Siris building during his college days in the early 80s. Former MP Gadde Rammohan said he worked as a chemist in Siris before plunging into politics. He taught me humility and empathy and those qualities are helping me both in my personal and political endeavours,” he added.

CPI(M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao, Freedom fighter Vamana Rao Senior Telugu Desam leader Ashok Gajapati Raju, and former MP Chennupati Vidya, were among those were present. AP State Grandhalaya Samstha chairman Turlapati Kutumbha Rao conducted the proceedings.