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APCC leader Kotagiri dies

APCC leader Kotagiri dies
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Kotagiri dies of cardiac arrest Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) spokesperson and former minister Kotagiri Vidyadhara Rao (66) died of...

Kotagiri dies of cardiac arrest

Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) spokesperson and former minister Kotagiri Vidyadhara Rao (66) died of cardiac arrest at his residence in Eluru in West Godavari district on Saturday. He is survived by his widow and two children. Vidyadhar Rao suffered cardiac arrest around 7.30 am when he was getting into his car at Eluru to embark on a campaign for the upcoming gram panchayat elections in Kamavarupu Kota Mandal of East Yedavalli village from where his daughter Anita is contesting, family sources said. His son Sridhar and daughter Anita were with him when the end came. The body was taken to his native village for funeral today.

The State government has decided to accord state honours for Rao. Union Minister K Chiranjeevi who air dashed to the village of Rao consoled the family members. He further said that he had met the AICC president Sonia Gandhi and discussed with her about the possibility of giving party ticket to him from Ungturu constituency to contest as MLA and MP seat for the state Tourism minister Vatti Vasant Kumar. Rao had served Chintalapudi Assembly segment as a TDP legislator for more than two decades and was a minister in the Cabinets of both NTR and Chandrababu Naidu and held important portfolios like agriculture and major industries. Rao lost the 2004 and 2009 Assembly elections.

In 2008, Rao quit TDP and joined Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) floated by Chiranjeevi and was his key aide. Following PRP's merger with the Congress, Rao was appointed as the APCC spokesman.

...carved a niche for himself in state politics

He was close to NT Rama Rao, N Chandrababu Naidu, and K Chiranjeevi

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Hyderabad: The death of Kotagiri Vidyadhara Rao, who had carved a special place in the State politics in his three-decade political career, has come as a big blow to the Congress party. Rao was a noted leader and a political veteran and a close aide to N T Rama Rao ever since he started his political career with TDP in 1983 and later was a trusted lieutenant of N Chandrababu Naidu. He was equally close to K Chiranjeevi when he floated the Prajarajyam Party. His death would leave a political vaccum in Chintalpudi, now a SC reserved constituency, of West Godavari district. Vidyadhara Rao had a strong clout in this region and with 2014 elections fast approaching it would be a huge setback to the Congress party.

Rao, known for his oratory skills and fluency both in English and Telugu languages had become a mass vocal leader both inside and outside the Assembly. Born in 1946 in an agricultural family, Rao started his political career as a village sarpanch. He was elected to the State Assembly from Chintalapudi constituency as an Independent candidate in 1983. Chintalapudi is one of the biggest Talukas in the State and a main trading centre for smaller villages. It is a residential and business place for medium, small and marginal farm owners and farm hands.` Rao became a minister for the first time in 1994 in the cabinet of NT Rama Rao and was allocated the portfolio of agriculture. Later, when the TDP split and N Chandrababu Naidu became the Chief Minister, Rao was the minister for major industries and had done a lot of spade work to attract Volkswagen Car Company to the State.

The project was lost after the Congress government came to power in 2004. During his three decade long political career, Rao had witnessed much political turbulence, but had an invincible hold on his constituency. His contemporaries in TDP like Mandava Venkateswara Rao, M Narsimhulu, E Peddi Reddy and others recalled their association with him as a legislator, minister and party leader who had held several responsibilities. Venkateswara Rao said that though Vidyadhar Rao was older to him, he was very friendly and used to guide him on many occasions. He was also part of the core group of TDP and a good political strategist, he said.

However, in 2008, Kotagiri left TDP following serious differences with Chandrababu Naidu and joined the Praja Rajyam Party floated by Chiranjeevi and played a prominent role in the party. Vidyadhar Rao switched to the ruling Congress along with his leader and was appointed as the party spokesperson.

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