Suspected Maoists shot dead a ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA and a party leader in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam district on Sunday, the police said.
Araku MLA Kidari Sarveswara Rao and former MLA S Soma shot dead at point blank range when they were attending a programme in Araku.
Rao was elected from Araku, a constituency reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, on the YSR Congress ticket in 2014, defeating Soma of the TDP. Rao shifted to the TDP in 2016.
According to sources, the suspected Maoists had specific intel about the presence of both Rao and Somu together as they were on the Maoist hit-list and had received threats from them in the past, too.
“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.
He said the exact number of Maoists involved in the attack and the reasons for shooting down the legislator were being ascertained.
Police sources, however, 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.
They reportedly engaged the MLA in a conversation for some time before shooting him dead, the sources added.
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.