Hyderabad/New Delhi: Former Sikkim governor and senior BJP leader V Rama Rao died in Hyderabad on Sunday, after prolonged illness. He was 81.
Rao breathed his last at a private hospital, his family said.
A former Jan Sangh leader, Rao served as Sikkim governor from 2002 to 2007. Born in Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh's Krishna district, he was a lawyer by profession and practised at Andhra Pradesh High Court.
He joined Jan Sangh in 1956 and was associated with various trade unions. He was first elected to Andhra Pradesh legislative council in 1966 and re-elected to the upper house in 1972, 1978 and 1984.
Rama Rao served as president of BJP's Andhra Pradesh unit from 1993 to 2001.
Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah and senior party leader L.K. Advani condoled Rao's death. Shah said Rao's life was dedicated to nationalist ideology and he served the party till his last. Advani said Rao was a man of committed ideals and noted that his speeches were marked with humour and wit which helped in bringing down tense moments.
Central ministers M. Venkaiah Naidu, Nirmala Seetaraman and Bandaru Dattatreya, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and his Telangana counterpart K. Chandrasekhar Rao condoled Rao's death.
BJP's Andhra Pradesh unit president Haribabu, Telangana unit chief Kishan Reddy and other party leaders also expressed grief over the passing away of the senior leader.