Senior Congress leader from Telangana V Hanumantha Rao tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday and has been admitted to a private hospital in Hyderabad for treatment.
An All India Congress Committee (AICC) Secretary, 72-year-old Hanumantha Rao is a prominent political figure in the state. He had celebrated his birthday just last week, with a small gathering.
Rao was tested after he began exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, following which the result returned positive.
Besides distributing ration and other essentials among the poor during the lockdown, Rao had also participated in the protests called by the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) over various issues from irrigation projects to how the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) was dealing with the pandemic.
The Congress leader had also recently extended his support to striking doctors at the state-run Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad, when they had boycotted duties for three days demanding better security and decentralisation of coronavirus treatment. Sources close to him say that he may have caught the infection during his visit there.
Other Congress leaders and party cadres who came in contact with him recently have gone into home quarantine. His family members in Hyderabad have also quarantined themselves.
A long-time Congress loyalist, Hanumantha Rao joined the Youth Congress in the 1970s. He was first elected as a Member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council from 1980 to 1984, and had served as the stateâ€™s Minister for Backward Classes and Tribal Welfare in 1982-83.
He was elected as an MLA for one more term and served as the stateâ€™s Minister for Sports and Youth Services (1989-90), before being elected to the Rajya Sabha in June 2004 and re-elected in July 2010.
He has served as a member on several Parliamentary committees.
Hanumantha Rao is the second senior Congress leader in the state to test positive after TPCC Treasurer Gudur Narayana Reddyâ€™s results returned positive last week and he is undergoing treatment.
Three MLAs of the ruling TRS â€“ Bigala Ganesh Gupta from Nizamabad Urban, Bajireddy Goverdhan from Nizamabad Rural and Muttireddy Yadagiri Reddy from Jangaon â€“ have tested positive for the coronavirus.
At present, Telangana has reported 7,072 cases of COVID-19, out of which 3,363 people are presently undergoing treatment. 3,506 people have recovered while 203 have succumbed to the virus.
On Saturday, 546 cases were reported out of which 458 were from the jurisdiction of the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Ranga Reddy district, adjoining Greater Hyderabad, reported 50 new cases.