Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh:
Tirupati Lok Sabha MP Balli Durga Prasad Rao, who was undergoing treatment for COVID-19, died at a hospital in Chennai on Wednesday, family members said.
The 65-year old ruling YSR Congress MP was admitted to the hospital in Chennai, about 140 km from here, three weeks ago after he tested positive for the coronavirus, they said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy were among those who condoled the death of the first-time MP from the Tirupati (SC) reserved constituency.
A three-time MLA and a former state minister, he is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.
A lawyer, Mr Rao started his political career as a member of TDP and became an MLA for the first time in 1985. He joined the YSRC ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
“Saddened by the demise of Lok Sabha MP, Balli Durga Prasad Rao Garu. He was an experienced leader, who made effective contributions towards the progress of Andhra Pradesh. My thoughts are with his family and well-wishers in this sad hour. Om Shanti,” PM Modi tweeted.
Jagan Reddy expressed profound grief over the demise of the MP. “Loss to the party. He strove for people’s welfare as MLA, Minister and MP,” he said in a message.
Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister K Narayana Swamy, Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy and several MLAs from Chittoor District, under which Tirupati falls, expressed shock and condoled the death of Mr Rao.
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Board Chairman YV Subba Reddy also condoled the death of the MP, a release said here.
Mr Rao was School Education Minister in the Chandrababu Naidu Cabinet in the undivided Andhra Pradesh during 1995-96. He was elected to the state assembly from Gudur in Nellore District in 1985, 1994 and 2009.