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June 12, 1999
Andhra ex-CM Vengala Rao dies at 78
Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and veteran Congress politician Jalagam Vengala Rao, who initiated stern measures against Naxalites, died of prolonged illness in Hyderabad tonight.
He was 78 and is survived by two sons, including former minister J Prasada Rao.
Rao, chief minister from 1973 to 1978, was also Union industry minister in the Rajiv Gandhi Cabinet from 1984 to 1989. He was the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president between 1984 and 1988.
Vengala Rao represented Sattupalli constituency in Khammam district in the state assembly for four terms and was also elected to the Lok Sabha from Khammam.
Known as an efficient administrator, his tenure was, however, marked by a lot of encounters between the police and Naxalite outfits.
He also had the distinction of holding the first World Telugu Conference in Hyderabad.
The funeral will take place at his farmhouse on the outskirts of Hyderabad tomorrow afternoon.
Vengala Rao became active in politics in his early twenties by joining the armed struggle against the erstwhile Nizam of Hyderabad. He was leader of one of the border camps run by the Congress in the struggle against the nizam.
After Independence, he was one of the Congress leaders who fought against tenancy laws in the Telangana region and even went to jail during that struggle. Though unsuccessful as an independent candidate in 1952, he made it to the state assembly in 1962. Between 1952 and 1962, he was the Khammam district Congress president and the first chairman of the district council. He was instrumental in extending the Nagarjunsagar left canal into the district, which led to its development.
After becoming chairman of the Panchayat Raj Chamber in 1967, he entered the state Cabinet as home minister under Kasu Brahmananda Reddy in 1968.
When Vengala Rao was chief minister, the Congress split for the second time and for about seven years he remained away from the Congress-I, which he joined in 1984 and got elected to Parliament from Khammam.
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