Hyderabad: Former Member of Parliament SM Laljan Basha, who served as a prominent Muslim face of Telugu Desam Party for close to three decades, was killed in a road accident at Narketpalli on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada National Highway in the wee hours Thursday.
Basha (57) is survived by wife, a son and four daughters.
Basha was on his way to his hometown Guntur when the SUV he was travelling in hit the road divider and turned turtle, killing him on the spot.
The vehicle driver sustained serious injuries and was rushed to a private hospital for treatment, police said.
A pal of gloom descended on the TDP as news of Basha`s death broke out.
Party leaders, soon after hoisting the national flag on the occasion of Independence Day, paid homage to the departed leader at the NTR Trust Bhavan here.
TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and other top leaders expressed shock over the tragic death of Basha.
"I am unable to digest the news that Basha has been killed (in a road accident). It is like losing a family member for me," Chandrababu said after visiting the district headquarters hospital at Nalgonda where Basha`s body was kept.
As a party leader and an MP, he strove for the uplift of minorities, Chandrababu said.
Basha`s death was a deep loss not only to the TDP but also for the country, he added.
It was shocking that the party`s top leaders were getting killed in road accidents, he remarked.
Incidentally, Yerran Naidu, who remained the TDP`s face in New Delhi for over a decade, was also killed in a road accident in Srikakulam district in November last.
A scrap iron merchant, Basha joined the TDP soon after its inception in the early 1980s and was elected to Lok Sabha from Guntur in 1991 in a stunning victory over veteran parliamentarian Acharya NG Ranga.
He, however, lost subsequent elections to Lok Sabha from Guntur and Narsaraopet constituencies.
He was elevated to the rank of general secretary in the TDP and remained one of the key aides of party president N Chandrababu Naidu along with K Yerran Naidu.
Basha was elected to Rajya Sabha in 2002 and, upon retirement from Parliament in 2008, made the TDP vice-president. He also served as politburo member of TDP.
TDP MPs N Harikrishna, Nama Nageswara Rao, CM Ramesh, YS Chowdary, MLC Yanamala Ramakrishnudu and other senior leaders also mourned Basha`s death.
Film star and TDP leader Nandamuri Balakrishna also expressed shock and grief over the ex-MP`s tragic death.
PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana and YSR Congress honorary president YS Vijaya also mourned Basha`s death.
Basha`s cremation will take place in his hometown Guntur tomorrow, party sources said.