Press Statement

Comrade M. Hanumantha Rao

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses its deep grief at the passing away of Comrade M. Hanumantha Rao, member of the Polit Bureau, veteran leader of the CPI(M) and one of the pioneers of the Communist movement in Andhra Pradesh, after a prolonged illness. He died at Vijayawada on the morning of 18th June. He was aged 84 years.

M. Hanumantha Rao joined the freedom movement in his student days and actively participated in the anti-imperialist struggle and movements for social reform. Drawn to the left wing section of the national movement, he became acquainted with communist leaders and joined the Communist Party in 1937.

As a Party organiser he played an important role in the development of the Communist movement in Guntur and neighbouring areas. He was a member of the Andhra State Secretariat and a member of the National Council of the CPI till the split in 1964.

He was arrested in 1949 for participating in the Telengana armed struggle and jailed for 29 months.

He was first elected to the all India leadership by becoming a member of the Central Committee at the Third Congress of the party in 1953. Since then he has been in the leading positions of the Party, first in the undivided CPI, and then in the CPI(M).

In the struggle against revisionism, Hanumantha Rao played a leading role as one among the 32 National Council members who left the CPI and who were instrumental in the formation of the CPI(M).

He was the secretary of the Andhra Pradesh State Committee of the CPI(M) from 1964 and continued in that position till 1982. He was elected to the Central Committee of the CPI(M) in 1964 and remained its member till his death. He became a member of the Polit Bureau at the 16th Congress in 1998.

Soon after the formation of the CPI(M), the Party had to face the challenge of ultra-Left adventurism particularly in Andhra Pradesh. Comrade Hanumantha Rao as the secretary of the Party played a key role in countering the Left adventurist ideology and defending the Party programme and its tactical line. He made a major contribution to rallying the Party against the naxalite disruption.

Comrade Hanumantha Rao made a distinctive contribution to the development of the Communist press in Andhra Pradesh. He was the editor of the Vishalandhra, the paper of the CPI for nearly eight years. He took over as the editor of the CPI(M) daily Prajashakti and remained the editor till recently when he resigned due to ill health. As a Marxist ideologue, Comrade Hanumantha Rao made an invaluable contribution to the spread of communist ideology in Andhra Pradesh through his numerous books and pamphlets.

Hanumantha Rao served the Party also as a legislator. He served both as an MLA and an MLC for a term each. He also served as a member of the Rajya Sabha for one term.

For over two decades, Hanumantha Rao served the Communist movement with unswerving dedication. He was a redoubtable and consistent defender of the principles of Marxism-Leninism and was outspoken in their defence. His contribution to the development of the communist movement in Andhra Pradesh and the country will always be cherished.

He underwent four and a half years imprisonment and remained underground for five years, including 19 months during the Emergency.

Comrade Hanumantha Rao was imbued with communist values and his life exemplified sacrifice and simple living. He was respected by all sections of the people for his principled positions.

In his death the CPI(M) and the Left movement has suffered a grievous loss. The Polit Bureau pays its respectful homage to his memory and conveys its heartfelt condolences to his wife Udayam, daughters and other family members.