Former Union Minister P Upendra passes away

Former Union Minister Parvathaneni Upendra, who was a leading light of the opposition during the Indira-Rajiv era of 1980s, died of renal failure at a private hospital here this evening. He was 73.

Hyderabad: Former Union Minister
Parvathaneni Upendra, who was a leading light of the
opposition during the Indira-Rajiv era of 1980s, died of renal
failure at a private hospital here this evening. He was 73.

Upendra was admitted to a private hospital here
following kidney dysfunction last week and the end came at
around 6.15 pm.

Upendra, who served as Cabinet Minister for
Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs in the
National Front government headed by V P Singh, later made up
with Congress and became a member of the Lok Sabha on its
ticket for two terms between 1996 and 1998.

A government official, he had plunged into politics at
the height of N T Rama Rao`s campaign against Congress and
joined Telugu Desam Party and was a virtual number two in the
party till he fell out with it in 1992 when some of its MPs
defied party whip and supported the minority P V Narasimha Rao
government.

Upendra is survived by wife, three sons and a daughter.
One of his sons P V K Mohan is currently heading the Shipping
Development Board.

He joined Praja Rajyam Party floated by Telugu megastar
Chiranjeevi last year and was a key member of its political
affairs committee.

Born on July 14, 1936, in Pothunuru in West Godavari
district of Andhra Pradesh, Upendra began his career as a
journalist on graduating in Journalism and Mass Communication
from Andhra University and subsequently joined as a Public
Relations Officer in the Indian Railways. He also held a
post-graduate degree in English Literature.

Upendra’s son-in-law Lagadapati Rajagopal is currently a
member of Lok Sabha from Vijayawada constituency which the
former himself represented twice in 1996 and 1998.

He had also served as Personal Secretary to then Railways
Minister Madhu Dandavate between 1977 and 1979. Both were
cabinet ministers in the V P Singh government.

He was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1984 and
continued as its member till 1996.

An articulate politician, Upendra enjoyed cordial
relations with many senior political leaders, cutting across
party lines, at the national level. This had helped him become
convenor of the National Front in 1988.

Upendra had to bow out of TDP following differences with
N Chandrababu Naidu, son-in-law of N T Rama Rao.

The issue that pushed Upendra and five other MPs out of
TDP was the trust vote in favour of the then Prime Minister
Narasimha Rao.

Bhupatiraju Vijaya Kumar Raju and other TD MPs defied the
party whip and voted for Rao to save the minority Congress
government and in the process invited the wrath of N T Rama
Rao.

After his exit from TDP, Upendra spent a couple of years
as an "unattached" member in the Rajya Sabha before formally
joining Congress. He was elected to Lok Sabha from Vijayawada
in 1996 and again in 1998 but lost in 1999.

In 2004, he had to make way for his son-in-law, who till
then headed the Lanco Group of Companies, to contest
successfully from Vijaywada. Relations between the two,
however, soured following a family dispute in 2007.

At the request of Chiranjeevi, Upendra agreed to be his
political adviser and joined PRP after its formation in August
last year. Since then, he had been a political ideologue for
the actor-turned-politician and the fledgling party.

Upendra penned a book "Swagatam" in two parts listing his
political experiences.

Guv, CM condoles death of Upendra

Andhra Pradesh Governor Narayan
Dutt Tiwari, Chief Minister K Rosaiah, TDP president N
Chandrababu Naidu and PRP president K Chiranjeevi expressed
grief over the death of former Union Minister Parvathaneni
Upendra.

"I am deeply grieved over the death of Upendra, a tall
journalist, political and social leader. Andhra Pradesh has
lost an eminent leader, who served the weaker sections of the
society in various capacities. His services to the state and
the country will be fondly remembered," Tiwari said in a
condolence message.

The Governor extended his sympathies to the bereaved
family. Upendra died of renal failure at a private hospital
here this evening. He was 73.

Chief Minister K Rosaiah said Upendra served the state
and the country in an exemplary way in his political career.
"Upendra was a friendly person and a man of conviction. He
always fought for the philosophy he believed in," Rosaiah
said.

TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said Upendra played an
active role in state and national politics for over
two-and-a-half decades. "He strove a lot for the development
of the state," Chandrababu recalled. Expressing grief over the
former union minister’s death, the TDP chief conveyed his
condolences to the bereaved family.

Chiranjeevi, who paid homage by placing a wreath on
Upendra’s body, said the latter`s death was a "great loss to
Andhra Pradesh as well as India." The state committee of Praja
Rajyam Party met at the party headquarters here tonight and
condoled the death.

Former Union Minister K Yerran Naidu, TDP senior leader
Kambhampati Ramamohan Rao, PRP senior leader Kotagiri
Vidyadhara Rao and other leaders too condoled the death of
Upendra and extended their sympathies to the bereaved family.

Bureau Report

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