Senior BJP leader and former Andhra minister P Manikyala Rao succumbs to COVID-19

Manikyala Rao was elected as an MLA from Tadepalligudem in 2014 and served as Endowments Minister in the cabinet of N Chandrababu Naidu from 2014 to 2018

Published: 01st August 2020 05:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd August 2020 10:55 AM   |  A+A-

Pydikondala Manikyala Rao

Pydikondala Manikyala Rao (File photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Selfless, fearless, unassuming, spirited and gritty - these were the words most commonly used by BJP leaders to describe their colleague and leader Pydikondala Manikyala Rao. Pydikondala breathed his last on Saturday after battling COVID-19.

Even when he was in hospital, and before his condition turned serious, Manikyala Rao continued to actively coordinate COVID-19 relief activities and party-strengthening measures. Pydikondala Manikyala Rao, or 'PMR' to his admirers, also planned to visit Delhi to discuss with his party leadership a few state-related issues once the pandemic subsided.

"Even after he was admitted to hospital, we had teleconferences. He was strong and never bothered about repercussions. If he believed something would help people, he would jump right at it. We met at my house in Visakhapatnam just a week before he tested positive for the virus, and spent two-three hours discussing various issues," recalled former

Visakhapatnam MLA P Vishnu Kumar Raju, who was Pydikondala’s colleague in the Legislative Assembly in the last term. "He was a soft-hearted man who would never say ‘no’ to anybody who asked for help," the former Visakhapatnam MLA added. 

Pydikondala, a selfless and fearless leader, expires 

Before becoming a full time politician, Pydikondala ran a photo studio. "An RSS Swayamsevak since childhood, he has come up in life fighting poverty," BJP national secretary and co incharge of the state unit Sunil Deodhar says remembering their interactions.

The morning after he tested positive for COVID-19, Manikyala Rao released a video on July 4 appealing to people not to stigmatise contracting the virus. "We should strictly follow social distancing and usage of masks. There is no need to worry or stigmatise even if one tests positive. We just need to seek medical attention. Travelling in a car is also risky, as in my case. I contracted it from a friend of mine, who contracted it from his friend. My friend’s friend got it from his driver," he said in the video.

"Even on July 25, he tweeted saying that his condition was fine and that he would soon recover. But, things changed drastically in the last four five days. The party not only lost a selfless soldier, but also a fearless leader," Vishnu Kumar Raju says.

Meanwhile, Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan expressed deep shock and sadness at the sudden demise of former minister and BJP leader Manikyala Rao. The Governor recalled the services of Sri Pydikondala Manikyala Rao as a MLA and as endowments minister in the previous government. He said PMR will always be remembered.

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