Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Nedurumalli Janardhana Reddy and his wife, state minister N. Rajyalakshmi, escaped unhurt in a Maoist attack in Nellore district on Friday. The incident occurred near Vakadu, 400 km southeast of Hyderabad. Three persons — two Congress activists and a driver — were, however, killed in the landmine blast.
Reddy is a three-term Congress MP while Rajyalakshmi is Minister for Women’s Development and Child Welfare in the state government. The two were on their way to Tirupati, where Reddy was to receive an honorary doctorate from Sri Venkateswara University.
Reddy’s convoy was passing a culvert on the Vakadu-Gudur highway when the Maoists targetted one of the cars, assuming the former CM was inside it, Nellore SP K Lakshmi Reddy said. "They (Maoists) blasted a landmine (placed under the culvert). There were eight cars in the convoy; the target car was the fifth. The former CM and his wife escaped unhurt as theirs was a bulletproof car," the SP said.
Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy reviewed the situation at a meeting and asked the police to be vigilant. What has surprised the police brass is that the high-profile attack took place in Nellore, the only district in the state considered absolutely free of maoist influence.
Reddy has been on the Maoists’ hitlist since his government in 1992 banned the People’s War Group. The police had foiled another attempt on his life on February 16, 2003.