BHIMAVARAM: "It is a great day in our life. We never dreamt that one day, the Prime Minister of the country would come to Bhimavaram and launch the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of our great grandfather Alluri Sitarama Raju," an excited and exuberant Alluri Srirama Raju said after meeting PM Narendra Modi on Monday.
Srirama Raju was one among the family members and associates of the revolutionary freedom fighter Alluri, who were felicitated by PM Modi. He along with other heirs of Alluri came to Bhimavaram to attend the launch of year-long celebrations of the 125th birth anniversary of the revolutionary.
"It is really surprising for us that the people of Bhimavaram have come together and installed a 30-ft bronze statue of our great grandfather. We are thrilled by the gesture of Alluri Sitarama Raju birth anniversary celebrations committee," Srirama Raju told The New Indian Express.
All his family members got scattered in different places of Godavari districts, Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad. "We feel it as a privilege that we were invited. My uncle Alluri Venkatrama Raju was felicitated by Modi. We are asked to sit in a special gallery. What can we expect than this," said elated Srirama Raju.
He appealed to the government to protect the memories of Alluri in north coastal Andhra. "The credit goes to the Centre that it has decided to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Alluri in a befitting manner as part of Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav," he said.
As part of the celebrations, the PM felicitated two heirs or family members of Alluri and his close aide Mallu Dora. After felicitating Alluri Venkatrama Raju (83) and Bodi Dora alias Bodi Raju (89), Modi bowed his head before them.
It may be recalled that Mallu Dora and Gantam Dora were the staunch followers of Alluri. They fought against the British in the Agency area of Eastern Ghats spread into Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts.
Venkatrama Raju is the son of Satyanarayana Raju, who was the brother of Alluri. Venkatrama Raju, who is at the evening of his life, is spending his days in Hyderabad. Bodi Dora (89), grandson of Mallu Dora, was also felicitated by Modi. He was brought to the venue in a wheelchair.
Venkatrama Raju said he was indebted to the nation for not forgetting Alluri's sacrifice. He worked in the District Rural Development Agency and retired. He also expressed his happiness over the naming of the newly carved out Parvathipuram as Manyam district with Paderu as headquarters in memory of Alluri. Many family members of Alluri attended the event.
Modi also felicitated Alluri Sitarama Raju Celebration Committee organisers Nagaraju and Naniraju and took selfies with them. Film actress turned politician and Tourism Minister RK Roja also took a selfie with the PM and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on the occasion.