Senior Congress leader and MLC Paladugu Venkata Rao (75) passed away here in the early hours of Monday.
Mr. Rao, who was ailing for some time was admitted into a city hospital, breathed his last today. He is survived by wife Susheela.
The body of the Congress leader was brought home and would be kept at Indira Bhavan, the AP Congress Committee headquarters in Gandhi Bhavan premises till 3 pm. It would shifted to Nuzvid in the evening and the last rites would be performed on Wednesday morning at his ancestral village.
A staunch Congress loyalist, the veteran leader always stood by the cause of the party. He did not mince words in faulting the leadership, if he felt some decisions were not in the interests of the party.
Born on November 11, 1940 in Krishna district, Mr. Rao joined active politics as Youth Congress leader in 1968 and made his electoral debut as a Member of Legislative Assembly from Nuzvid constituency in 1978. He went on to serve as Minister for Rural Water Supply (1980-82), Agriculture Minister (1982) and Marketing Minister (1982-83).
After a brief gap, he returned to the Assembly having won the Nuzvid seat for the second time in 1989. After the revival of the Legislative Council during Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy’s regime, Mr. Rao was elected from the Assembly quota as an MLC in 2009. He was re-elected again in 2011 for a six year term. His tenure would have ended in 2017.
Congress leaders remember him as a committed party leader, who took on the landlords in Krishna district for encroaching on Government and forest lands. He waged relentless battle against the encroachers and was successful to a large extent in ensuring that these lands were resumed by the Government.
The veteran leader is also known for donating his residential building in Nuzvid to Andhra Pradesh Horticulture University to start a Rythu Seva Kendram. The building was used as an agriculture research centre and has been named after his late parents Paladugu Lakshmaiah and Nagaratnamma.
Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president N. Raghuveera Reddy, AP Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, Telangana PCC chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Congress Legislature Party leader in Telangana Assembly K. Jana Reddy, Leader of Opposition in Telangana Council D. Srinivas condoled his death.