Two former ministers, a well-known child rights activist, a popular folk artist and a leading physician were among the eminent personalities who succumbed to Covid-19 in the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Tribal leader and former legislator Sunnam Rajaiah, who died at a hospital in Vijayawada on August 4, is the latest prominent personality to lose the battle against Covid-19.
Known for his simplicity, the Communist Party of India-Marxist leader served as a member of Assembly twice in undivided Andhra Pradesh and once in Telangana.
The 68-year-old had participated in various movements for the rights of tribals.
Rajaiah’s death came only three days after former minister Pydikondala Manikyala Rao succumbed to Covid-19 at a hospital in Vijayawada at the age of 60.
The senior leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had served as endowments minister in Telugu Desam Party-led coalition government in Andhra Pradesh from 2014 to 2018.
Hailing from West Godavari district, Rao rose from the RSS cadres and joined the BJP in 1989.
On July 29, another former Andhra Pradesh minister and leader of ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) Koppana Mohan Rao died at a hospital in Kakinada. He was 75.
He was elected from Pithapuram Assembly constituency in East Godavari district twice and had served as the forest minister in the cabinet of Kotla Vijayabhaskar Reddy in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Last month, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) secretary G. Narendra Yadav died of Covid-19 at a private hospital in Hyderabad.
Earlier, former chairman of minority cell of party in undivided Andhra Pradesh, Mohammed Sirajuddin succumbed to the virus.
On July 22, Well-known child rights activist P. Achyuta Rao died of COVID-19 at a hospital in Hyderabad. He was 58.
He was the founder of Balala Hakkula Sangham, a non-governmental organization fighting for child rights.
Rao and his wife Anuradha Rao had formed the NGO in 1985 and was instrumental in taking up the issues of child rights in undivided Andhra Pradesh and subsequently in Telangana.
Telangana’s revolutionary balladeer Mohammed Nissar Ahmed popularly as Suddala Nissar succumbed to the virus on July 8.
A poet, singer, writer and dancer, Nissar breathed his last at state-run Gandhi Hospital. He was 55.
Nissar, who recently penned and sang a folk song to create public awareness about coronavirus, succumbed to the same disease.
Nissar, an employee in state-owned Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC), was also the state assistant secretary of TSRTC Employees Union and secretary of Telangana Praja Natya Mandali, an association of revolutionary singers.
K.V.R. Prasad, a prominent physician in Hyderabad, also died of Covid-19 on July 2. He was 85.
He continued to attend the patients at his nursing home in Sitaphalmandi even when Covid-19 cases were increasing.
Ministers and legislators in both the Telugu states have also tested positive for Covid-19. While some have recovered, others were still undergoing treatment.
Andhra Pradesh Electricity Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy tested positive on Wednesday to join the virus-hit league of leaders. He was admitted to a private hospital in Hyderabad.
Earlier, YSRCP’s parliamentary party leader and Rajya Sabha member Vijay Sai Reddy also tested positive and underwent treatment a hospital in Hyderabad.
Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister S.B. Amzath Basha too had tested positive and recovered at a hospital in Hyderabad last month.
Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali and Deputy Speaker of Telangana Assembly Padma Rao were among key leaders who recovered after treatment.
Greater Hyderabad Mayor Bonthu Rammohan was also among eminent people to test positive.
More than a dozen MLAs in both the Telugu states and some prominent leaders like Telangana’s former deputy chief minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader Kadiam Srihari and senior Congress leader V. Hanumantha Rao were among those who were found infected.