As Blame Game Intensifies over Ex-Andhra Speaker's Death, Team Jagan Says Naidu Drove Rao to Suicide
YSR Congress leaders said Chandrababu Naidu's failure to respond to Kodela Siva Prasada Rao’s calls had humiliated the senior party leader, driving the Speaker to "suicide".
File photos of Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy and TDP president Chandrababu Naidu.
Amaravati: As the controversy over the death of former Andhra Pradesh Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao continues to rage, the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government on Tuesday blamed Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president Chandrababu Naidu for the alleged suicide.
Rao, 72, a six-time MLA and former home minister, was found hanging on Monday morning at his Hyderabad residence. He was the speaker of the Assembly from 2014 to 2019 during the previous Naidu government.
Civil Supplies Minister Kodali Nani, chief whip G Srikanth Reddy, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member and MLA Ambati Rambabu addressed a joint press meet and said Naidu had humiliated Rao on several occasions and encouraged infighting in the TDP.
“Naidu went into hiding immediately after hearing the news (of Rao's death) and surfaced only after it was clear there was no suicide note with his name in it. Once that became clear, the former chief minister started playing with the sentiments of the people and blamed the ruling camp for the suicide," said Nani.
Hours after the suicide came to light on Monday, Naidu said, “I am not able to digest the death of Kodela Siva Prasad Rao. He suffered because of the government’s torture, which resulted in his suicide. He told me he can’t even sleep at night because of all the cases lodged against him. I suggested he should fight against the government, which will give confidence to the party cadre as well. This is such an unfortunate incident.”
However, YSR Congress leaders said Naidu would not respond to Rao’s calls — this had driven the latter to take the extreme step. “If the call data of his phone is checked, the reason for his death will come to light,” Rambabu said.
Naidu did not even visit Rao in hospital when he was recently admitted after a failed suicide attempt although the former was in the same town to address a meeting, Nani added.
After losing the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Naidu did not meet Rao even once and was busy promoting another faction within the party, which might have hurt the senior TDP leader, Srikanth Reddy said. He added that the former chief minister gave Rao sleepless nights by insulting and ignoring him. He had meted out the same treatment to TDP founder NT Rama Rao and his son Nandamuri Harikrishna.
When asked about the cases against Rao, Nani said, “Government property, including furniture, was taken away from the Andhra Pradesh State Legislative Assembly by the Speaker and shifted to his son’s office. Builders and contractors have filed complaints with police, based on which cases were registered against him and his family members.”
Rao, who had confessed to having shifted Assembly furniture to his personal place, later issued a letter asking officials to take them back. Rao’s last rites will be conducted on Wednesday at Narasaraopet with full state honours.
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