NARASARAOPET (GUNTUR): Even as the heavyweights of the opposition TDP and the ruling YSRC were engaged in acrimonious arguments over the suicide of former Assembly Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao, the atmosphere in Narasaraopet, the home turf of Kodela, appeared peaceful.
At Sattenapalle bus stand area, popularly known as Kota Centre, where the residence of Siva Prasada Rao is located, an uneasy calm prevailed on Tuesday ahead of the arrival of the mortal remains of the senior TDP leader.
Under the watchful eyes of around 500 police personnel, several of Kodela’s followers and supporters along with common people in the town, visited his residence to offer floral tributes to his portrait.
In a large hall, a portrait of the leader, who represented Narasaraopet Assembly constituency five times, was kept as his friends and well-wishers were seen shedding silent tears. The mortal remains of Kodela were brought to Narasaraopet on Tuesday late night in a procession from Guntur city. The last rites will be performed on Wednesday morning.
Guntur Rural SP R Jayalakshmi, who visited Narasaraopet and took stock of the situation, said as a precautionary measure to prevent any untoward incident, prohibitory orders under Section 144, banning public gatherings and rallies were imposed.
She said they made every arrangement for the peaceful conduct of the last rites of the former Speaker, expected to be attended by several VIPs.
ALSO READ | New twist? Kodela’s phone goes missing
Contrary to the expectations, no bandh call was given in the town and people went about their routine like any other normal day. However, at Kota Centre, where Kodela started his career as a doctor, the atmosphere was sombre and subdued.
Most of the residents of the locality were stunned after hearing the news of his demise and felt sorry for the person, who never gave up even during difficult times.
Ch Aravind Babu, who contested on TDP ticket in the recent elections, said no one can forget Kodela, who as a general surgeon, never demanded a fee from his patients.
“Whether patients paid a fee or not, he treated them equally. There are several people who received help from him and settled down happily in life,” he said.
Aravind said the development of Narasaraopet, which today boasts of well-laid roads, twice-a-day drinking water supply, rail over the bridge, renovated town hall, can only be attributed to him. Similarly, the credit for the development of Kotappa Konda goes to Kodela, he added.
“There is not a single person here who is not shocked over his tragic death,” said K Anjaneyulu, a close follower of Kodela, attributing his political career to the former Speaker.
He said they are all unable to digest the fact that a fearless leader like Kodela took such an extreme step. Echoing the sentiment, Bujji, who followed Kodela since his teenage days, said that there are several people like him, who received life-changing help from the former minister.
“He was strict, but at the same time, he was very caring,” he recalled.
2 SPs, 500 police personnel deployed
Apart from 500 personnel, two SP rank officers, several inspectors and sub-inspectors were also deployed to monitor the situation.
Stating that restrictions under Section 144 will continue up to September 30, Guntur Rural SP R Jayalakshmi urged the people to cooperate in maintaining law and order