Former Minister Manikyala Rao dies of Coronavirus

Amaravati: Senior BJP leader and former minister P Manikyala Rao died of coronavirus in a private hospital in Vijayawada on Saturday, party sources said.
He was 59 and is survived by his wife and a daughter.
Rao, who was elected to Andhra Pradesh Assembly from Tadepalligudem in 2014, served as Endowments Minister in Chandrababu Naidu Cabinet till 2018 and resigned when the two allies snapped ties.
He contested the 2019 election from Narsapuram Lok Sabha constituency but lost.
Rao recently posted a video byte on social media saying he contracted COVID-19, but there was nothing to worry as he was taking good care.
He was on ventilator support as he suffered a lung infection, BJP sources said. On July 25, the former minister posted a tweet scoffing at rumours about his health. “There is nothing to worry about. Nobody needs to be disheartened and I am healthy. With Gods blessings and your affection, I will come out hale and hearty,” he wrote.
However, he lost the nearly three-week battle with coronavirus on Saturday.
Rao started off as an RSS karyakarta and later became a member of the BJP.
He served the party in various capacities like president of West Godavari district unit and as state general secretary.
He earned a livelihood as a photographer in Tadepalligudem town.
“In the 20 years I worked with him in the party, Manikyala Rao was a disciplined and committed worker.
His sudden death came as a shock. His death is a loss to the party in the state,” BJP state vice-president Vishnuvardhan Reddy said in a statement.
Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed grief over Manikyala Rao’s demise and extended sympathies to the bereaved family.
He directed that the last rites of the departed leader be conducted with full state honours and asked the West Godavari District Collector Revu Mutyala Raju to make the necessary arrangements.
Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu also condoled the death of his former Cabinet colleague.
“As minister for Endowments, Manikyala Rao worked for the development of temples and welfare of the archakas,” Chandrababu recalled in a statement.