Several senior politicians in the state expressed their condolences over the death of former Andhra Pradesh Speaker and senior Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Kodela Siva Prasada Rao. While reports suggest that he attempted to kill himself, and succumbed to his injuries, an official confirmation is awaited.
Kodela was admitted at the Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital & Research Institute in Hyderabad, where he passed away.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed grief over the death in a statement and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved family members.
"Siva Prasada Rao had a long political innings since 1983 and was a popular doctor. May his soul rest in peace," the statement said.
Taking to Twitter, former CM and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu said, "I am unable to digest the death of Kodela Siva Prasada Rao. He joined the TDP after his stint as a medical professional and emerged as a popular leader. His death has left a void in the party and in the general public. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family members, and pray to god that he may grant them peace."
కోడెల శివప్రసాద్ గారి మరణవార్తను జీర్ణించుకోలేకపోతున్నాను. వైద్యవృత్తి నుంచి తెదేపాలో చేరి అత్యంత ప్రజాదరణ కలిగిన నాయకుడిగా ఎదిగారు. ఆయన మృతి పార్టీకి, ప్రజలకు తీరని లోటు. ఆయన ఆత్మకు శాంతి చేకూరాలని భగవంతుని ప్రార్థిస్తూ వారి కుటుంబసభ్యులకు నా ప్రగాఢ సానుభూతిని తెలియజేస్తున్నాను.— N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) September 16, 2019
The Governor of Andhra Pradesh Sri Biswa Bhusan Harichandan in a message conveyed his grief over the untimely demise. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said that he 'prayed to the Lord to bring peace to Rao's soul'.
Senior TDP leader and former minister Nara Lokesh also took to Twitter, expressing his shock at the death. "Kodela had been in politics for a long time and made a special name for himself, with his public service. He worked continuously for the strengthening of the TDP," he said.
కోడెల శివప్రసాద్ గారి మరణం పార్టీకి తీరని లోటు. వారి ఆత్మకు శాంతి చేకూరాలని ఆ భగవంతుడిని ప్రార్ధిస్తున్నాను. వారి కుటుంబసభ్యులకు మరియు అభిమానులకు నా ప్రగాఢ సానుభూతిని తెలియజేస్తున్నాను.— Lokesh Nara (@naralokesh) September 16, 2019
TDP leaders allege 'murder'
Meanwhile, some senior leaders of the TDP claimed that Kodela's death was a 'murder' and laid the blame squarely on the YSRCP for allegedly harassing him.
Taking to Twitter, Vijayawada MP Kesineni Nani said, "This is not suicide. It is a brutal murder by Chief Minister Y S Jagan."
This is not suicide a brutal murder by Chief Minister@ysjagan pic.twitter.com/xtRSDaHWOu— Kesineni Nani (@kesineni_nani) September 16, 2019
Speaking to reporters, former Agriculture Minister and senior TDP leader Somireddy Chandrasekhar Reddy also alleged that Kodela may have killed himself due to harassment by the YSRCP.
The two politicians were referring to a case last month where the former Speaker had admitted that he had shifted expensive furniture from the premises of the old state Assembly building in Hyderabad, to his residence-cum-office in Guntur district. Andhra Pradesh Assembly Section Officer Eshwar Rao had filed a complaint with the Thullur Circle Inspector, about the 'missing' furniture, following which Kodela Siva Prasada had been booked under IPC section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and section 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property). Assembly officials had searched a motorbike showroom belonging to Rao’s family and reportedly identified and recovered furniture.
The Telangana BJP also reacted to the death, with Chief Spokesperson K Krishna Saagar Rao issuing a statement.
"Shocked to know that former minister and AP speaker Kodela Siva Prasad is no more. I extend heartfelt condolences on the unfortunate demise of this senior politician. May his soul rest in peace. I believe, this forced death is a testimony to the ongoing bitter & contemptuous politics of Andhra Pradesh. It's quite unfortunate," he said.
As news of his death spread, several senior TDP leaders including party state unit chief L Ramana and Nandamuri Balakrishna rushed to the hospital.
A senior leader from the TDP, Kodela was a 6-time MLA and served as a minister in the cabinets of TDP founder NT Rama Rao and present party chief N Chandrababu Naidu.