VISAKHAPATNAM: The last rites of GITAM founder-president and MLC Dr MVVS Murthi were performed with full State honours at the cremation site near the GITAM (Deemed to be University) on Sunday evening. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, deputy Chief Minister N Chinnarajappa, ministers Kala Venkat Rao, N Lokesh, Ch Ayyannapatrudu, Ganta Srinivasa Rao, K Atchhannaidu along with close relatives of Murthi and MLA Nandamuri Balakrishna, Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad and several prominent persons with family members attended the ceremony and paid homage to the departed leader.
M Rama Rao, the eldest son of Murthi along with his brother Lakshmana Rao performed the last rites. Rama Rao lit the funeral pyre at around 4.40 pm. The Chief Minister left for Vijayawada by a special aircraft by 5.40 pm.
At around noon, Chandrababu Naidu paid floral tributes to Murthi at the latter’s residence. At 1.20 p.m, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu paid homage to Murthi.
Vizag MP K Hari Babu and several BJP leaders accompanied the Vice-President. The Vice-President left for New Delhi at 2.30 p.m by a special aircraft. Earlier in the day, the bodies of Murthi and his friend V Pattabhi Ramaiah Chowdary (VPR Chowdary alias Chinna), who died in a road mishap in Alaska of the USA on October 2, arrived in Visakhapatnam at around 8.30 am. M Bharadwaj, the grandson of Murthi and a few other relatives accompanied the bodies.
Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao and MLAs PGVR Naidu (Ganababu), Vasupalli Ganesh and V Ramakrishna Babu and a large number of TDP activists received the mortal remains and made all necessary arrangements for quick immigration clearance. Meanwhile, as the family members decided to perform the last rites of Chowdary at his native village Jonnada in East Godavari district, the body was taken to Jonnada by road.
Later, at around 9.30 am, TDP leaders and activists brought the Murthi’s body in a procession to the latter’s Waltair Uplands residence. Lokesh, his wife Brahmani, her mother, Daggubati Purandeswari-Venkateswara Rao family, Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, Atchhennaidu, Kala Venkata Rao, Ayyanna Patrudu, Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao, P Pulla Rao, several MLAs, TDP leaders Kambhampati Rammohana Rao, Nama Nageswara Rao and others paid floral tributes to the departed leader.
Keeping the time factor in view, family members and TDP leaders shifted the body to the Telugu Desam Party city office ‘NTR Bhavan’ at Pandimetta at 2.15 p.m. After half an hour, the funeral procession was taken out to the cremation ground near the GITAM. The procession passed through Siripuram junction, III Town police station, Beach Road, Santhi Ashramam, Kurupam tombs, Tenneti Park, Rushikonda Road and the GITAM. At the GITAM premises, faculty along with a large number of students paid last respects to their leader. At around, 4.15 p.m, the procession reached the cremation site. Chandrababu Naidu, Chinnarajappa, Lokesh, Nandamuri Balakrishna and several leaders along with the MVVS Murthi’s family members reached the cremation ground a little before the procession. The police fired in the air thrice as a mark of respect and saluted the departed leader after the police band performed the music. Then, Rama Rao lit the pyre.
Earlier, on Saturday the State Chief Secretary has issued orders saying, “The Government deeply regrets to announce the demise of MVVS Murthi, MLC and former member of Parliament on Oct 2 in the US. As a mark of respect to the departed dignitary, it is decided to accord State funeral and to observe State mourning for two days throughout the State from October 7.