The YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh on Monday hit back at allegations by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) that harassment by the ruling party drove former state Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao to end his life.
A senior politician who had served in the cabinets of former Andhra CMs N T Rama Rao and Chandrababu Naidu, Rao's death on Monday had come as a shock to many.
Police shifted Rao's body to government-run Osmania General Hospital, where a team of forensic experts conducted an autopsy. The body was later shifted to NTR Trust Bhavan, the TDP headquarters in Hyderabad, to enable the party leaders to pay their last respects.
TDP leaders termed this as a murder by the government. They said Rao was under tremendous mental pressure due to false cases booked against him. TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu alleged that Rao took the extreme step as he was unable to bear the mental harassment. "I had never imagined that Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, who himself was a doctor, will take his own life in this manner," Naidu told reporters in Guntur.
Naidu later rushed to Hyderabad. He along with other leaders will escort the body to Narsaraopet in Guntur district on Tuesday morning.
However, the YSRCP rubbished the allegations by TDP. The ruling party suspected that differences in the family led to Rao's suicide.
Urban Development Minister Botcha Satyanarayana demanded that the Telangana government conduct a thorough probe into Rao's death. He wondered why a man, who was initially believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest, was taken to a cancer hospital.
Expressing deep shock and extending his condolences, Satyanarayana said in a statement, “There has been news in the media that the cause of death of Kodela Siva Prasad is heart attack. Again another news story broke that he had administered a poisonous injection to himself last night. We still do not know the exact cause of death. Why and how he died will be known only after police investigation and post-mortem. We request the Government of Telangana to investigate the case from all angles.”
"TDP is trying to politicise the death of Kodela Siva Prasad. A complete investigation is needed over his death,” the minister added.
Meanwhile, police in Narsaraopet and surrounding areas imposed prohibitory orders as a precautionary measure to prevent outbreak of violence.
A physician by profession, Rao entered politics at the invitation of TDP founder N T Rama Rao in 1982. He served as Assembly Speaker from 2014 to 2019. He was defeated in the recent Assembly elections.
Rao, a six time MLA, was TDP strongman from the faction-ridden Palnadu of Guntur district. His rivals used to blame him for the political violence in the region.
Rao and his son Sivarama Krishna were last month booked by Andhra Pradesh Police for allegedly diverting the Assembly furniture to unauthorised premises. Some furniture was recovered from a motorbike showroom of Sivarama Krishna in Guntur.