Hyderabad/Karimnagar: Telangana has lost one of its favourite sons early Monday morning with the passing of veteran freedom fighter and former Communist leader Chennamaneni Rajeshwara Rao. He was 93. Born in an affluent family to Srinivasa Rao and Chandramma couple at Marupaka, near Vemulawada, on August 31, 1923, Rao was a leader to the core and has the credit of participating in ‘Quit India Movement’ and in the peasants’ struggle against the then Nizam government between 1948 and 1951.

He also went underground during the struggle. Rao had been with the Communist Party of India (CPI) for better part of his political career that spanned over seven decades. Since his student days, Rao was active in politics participating in the freedom movement. Rao, who won Choppadandi Assembly constituency first time on PDF ticket in 1957, went on to become MLA five more times.

He represented CPI from Sircilla constituency in 1967, 1978, 1985 and 1994. He joined the Telugu Desam in 1999, citing personal reasons and had never spoken a word against the CPI. After losing in 1999 election, he regained Sircilla in 2004 on TDP ticket. Later he joined the TRS when the separate State movement was at its peak. However, he retired from active politics making way for his son Ramesh, who currently represents Vemulawada constituency.  

His service to the CPI was immense as he worked in different capacities. He also worked as a member of BC Commission in 1969, AP Kisan Sabha and All India Kisan Sabha. Rao, who is highly regarded among the freedom fighters, also worked as the president of the Telangana Freedom Fighters Association. 

He also practiced as an advocate in Karimnagar between 1964 and 1967. He authored a book ‘Rajakeeya-Aardhika Vyasavali’ and it was released in 2008 by the then AP Speaker KR Suresh Reddy. Rao also extended social service to the poor through his ‘Self Employed Welfare Society’ taking up several drinking water projects in Vemulawada region.

Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao and economist Hanumantha Rao are Rajeswara Rao’s younger brothers. Rao is survived by three daughters–Aruna Kumari, Kalpana Devi and Prabhavathy, and son Ramesh. Rao’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, according to family sources.