The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) worker who had set himself ablaze last week to protest the denial of a party ticket to a leader that he supported succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday.
The police said 16 people were injured when Rengunta Gattaiah doused himself in petrol and attempted to self-immolate during a rally addressed by TRS MP Balka Suman.
Gattaiah was a follower of Nallala Odelu, the Chennur MLA who just finished his term. Odelu was among the few who were not given a ticket to contest again by Telangana caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. Instead, the TRS ticket for the MLA seat went to Suman.
The incident involving Gattaiah took place a day after high drama prevailed as Odelu had locked himself up in his own house for several hours along with his family, staging a protest and demanding his renomination from the constituency.
However, in a tragic turn of events, while Odelu has since met KCR and patched up with him, Gattaiah succumbed to his injuries after he suffered 70% burns.
â€śI am a TRS loyalist. I will always be with TRS, irrespective of whether I get a party ticket or not. There are no differences between Balka Suman and me. KCR convinced me that the party needs me to work on the ground, so I will do that. I will stand by KCRâ€™s decision,â€ť Odelu told TNM after the meeting earlier. Odelu is a former government whip and a candidate from the SC community.
Shortly after the self-immolation attempted, Gattaiah was rushed to a local hospital before being shifted to Yashoda Hospital in Hyderabadâ€™s Malakpet area.
However, Gattaiahâ€™s family has alleged that it was not Gattaiah who lit the fire that led to his death.
Speaking to a local media outlet, Gattaiahâ€™s brother said, â€śHe was protesting for Odelu and he thought that he would just pour petrol on himself to make a point. However, an unidentified man from behind lit a matchstick and threw it on him.â€ť
â€śI request the state government and the TRS party to do justice for my brother. My brother has two little children and they were dependent on him. We request political leaders and the caretaker Chief Minister to acknowledge his sacrifice,â€ť he added, before breaking down.
An autopsy was conducted at Osmania General Hospital in Hyderabad and the body was handed over to the family.