Many towns and villages in Andhra Pradesh virtually shut down in grief on Thursday as news spread that Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy had Many towns and villages in Andhra Pradesh virtually shut down in grief on Thursday as news spread that Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy had been killed in a helicopter crash.been killed in a helicopter crash.
Shopkeepers downed shutters and streets were deserted in the state capital as well as in cities like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati.
The silence that fell over the state was punctuated by muffled sobs and wails of the hundreds of people who rushed towards the chief minister's camp office in Begumpet here after it was confirmed that their beloved leader was no more.
Some of them fainted while crying inconsolably.
Emotional scenes were also witnessed at Gandhi Bhavan, the party headquarters. Not ready to believe that the chief minister was no more, some of them requested the media not to air the news.
"I am sure he will come back," said a woman.
Many of those who reached Gandhi Bhavan, the chief minister's camp office and state secretariat were poor people, who had benefited by the various schemes launched by the chief minister during the last five years.
This is the first time in the state's history that a chief minister has died in an accident while in office.
In some places, Congress workers pitched black flags to mourn the death of their leader.