Senior Telugu Desam Party (TDP) senior leader and former central minister K Yerran Naidu died in a road accident in Andhra Pradesh's Srikakulam district early on Friday. He was 55.
The mishap took place when the car in which he was travelling hit an oil tanker from behind near Ranasthalam in Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra, about 700km from Hyderabad, around 2am.
Naidu, a politburo member of the TDP, was returning to Srikakulam from Visakhapatnam, after attending a wedding.
A profusely bleeding Naidu was shifted to the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Srikakulam town, where doctors failed in their efforts to resuscitate him. He was declared dead around 3.30 a.m.
Four others travelling with Naidu were also injured. Two of them were admitted to RIMS.
Yerran Naidu, a four-time MP and a member of state assembly as many times, is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
He served as Union minister for rural development and employment in the United Front government from 1996 to 1998. After an autopsy at RIMS, the body of Naidu was kept at TDP office in Srikakulam to enable people to pay their last respects.
The body will be shifted to his native village Nimmada in the same district, where last rites will be performed later in the day.
Leaders cutting across party lines expressed shock over the death of Naidu. Governor ESL Narasimhan, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana and Tamil Nadu governor K Rosaiah condoled Naidu's death.
The TDP plunged into gloom. Party chief and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who was on a 'padyatra' in Mahabubnagar district, rushed to Hyderabad to board a flight to Visakhapatnam. He will travel by road to Srikakulam.
Chandrababu termed Yerran Naidu's death as a huge loss to the party. "He was politician with high moral and ethical values and a man of masses," an emotional TDP chief said.
YSR Congress party honorary president YS Vijayamma, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K Chandrasekhara Rao, Bharatiya Janata Party leader M Venkaiah Naidu and leaders of Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist were amongst those who condoled Yerran Naidu's death.