Srikakulam(PTI): Senior TDP leader and former Union Minister Kinjarapu Yerran Naidu, who was instrumental in building the party’s ties with other national and regional parties, died today when his car collided with a lorry here. He was 55.
The mishap occurred around 2 am near Ranasthalam in Srikakulam. He was rushed to a private hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.
TDP leaders expressed shock over his death. A pall of gloom descended on the TDP state headquarters N T R Bhavan in Hyderabad as senior leaders rushed in to pay floral tributes to the departed leader.
“I lost my right hand,” an emotional TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said.
Naidu, who was camping in Mahbubnagar district as part of his ‘Vastunna Meekosam’ foot march, expressed grief over Yerran Naidu’s death and said it was a deep loss to the party.
Many other leaders of the party also broke down on learning about the death of their politburo member and senior colleague.
Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan, Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and Deputy Chief Minister C Damodar Rajanarasimha were among those who condoled the death of the towering TDP leader.
Having joined the Telugu Desam Party immediately after its formation in 1982, Yerran Naidu was elected to Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly for four times since 1983 and as many times to Lok Sabha since 1996.
He, however, lost the Lok Sabha election from Srikakulam in 2009.
The only other time he faced defeat in his 30-year-old political career was when he contested the Lok Sabha polls for the first time in 1991.
A qualified lawyer, Yerran Naidu served as Union Minister for Rural Development in the United Front government between 1996 and 1998. He was also Leader of Telugu Desam Parliamentary Party between 1998 and 2009.
Yerran Naidu became Telugu Desam’s face in New Delhi as he built the party’s ties with other national and regional parties.
Hailing from Nimmada village in Srikakulam district, the parliamentarian made a mark for himself in the political arena and grew in ranks.
As an MLA, he served on various House panels and was also the Government Chief Whip in 1995-96.
As an MP, he was on various parliamentary committees and also served as chairman of Committee on Railways.
Since 1999, he remained a permanent member of the TDP politburo and a key leader of the party.
Chandrababu relied on him for most party matters.
In 2004, the former Union Minister survived a bid on his life by the outlawed CPI (Maoists), who blew a landmine targeting his vehicle in Srikakulam district.