Maoists on Sunday shot dead a ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA Sarveswara Rao and a former party leader in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam district, police said.

The incident occurred at Lippitiputta village under Dambriguda mandal when Araku (ST) MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao and former MLA Siveri Soma went to take part in a ‘grama darsini’ (village visit) programme, they said.

Sarveswara Rao won as the YSR Congress candidate in 2014, but he later defected to the TDP. He represented Araku constituency in the Andhra Pradesh state Assembly.

“A group of Maoists came along with the villagers and blocked the MLA’s car. As the personal security officers of the legislator and the ex-legislator got down, they snatched the AK-47 rifles from them and shot Sarveswara Rao and Soma dead,” Visakhapatnam Range Deputy Inspector General of Police Ch Srikanth told PTI.

They were shot from point blank range. A large number of Maoists allegedly participated in the attack.

Police sources suspect that a group of about 50-60 outlaws led by Maoists Andhra-Odisha Border Committee secretary Ramakrishna could be involved in the deadly attack.

Rao was elected from Araku, a constituency reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, on YSR Congress Party ticket in the 2014 elections, defeating Soma of the TDP.

In 2016, Rao switched loyalties to TDP.

According to the police, both Rao and Soma had received threats from Maoists in the past.

As Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is currently flying to New York, officials in the Chief Minister’s Office spoke to Visakhapatnam district collector and superintendent of police seeking details of the incident, a CMO communiqu said.

Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N China Rajappa and DGP (in charge) Harish Kumar Gupta were rushing to the spot, it said.

 

(With inputs from agencies)