The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expresses its deep grief at the passing away of Comrade N. Prasada Rao, former member of the Central Committee, veteran leader of the CPI(M) and one of the pioneers of the Communist movement in Andhra Pradesh. He died at a private nursing home in Hyderabad after a brief illness on 29th November. He was 89 years old.
Born in a well to do family in Arugolanu village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Prasada Rao had his school education in Gudivada and Machilipatnam. While undergoing higher studies at the Banaras Hindu University he was drawn to the anti-imperialist struggle and the movement for freedom. He joined the Communist Party in 1934.
As a Party organiser he played an important role in the development of the Communist movement in Andhra Pradesh. He was one of the important leaders of the Munagala peasants movement and took an active part in the Telangana peasants armed struggle. After remaining underground for many years during the struggle, he came out only after the 1952 general elections.
He immensely contributed to building the peasant and working class organisations in the state. He was the General Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Raithu Sangam for eight years and the General Secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha for another eight years. He was also the General Secretary of the A.P. Agriculture Labour Union for some time and President of the International Agriculture Labour Union for five years. He was General Secretary of the Andhra Pradesh State Committee of the CITU from 1970 to 1996 and its President from 1996 to 1999. He was the All India Vice President of the CITU till 2000.
He was first elected to the all India leadership of the Party 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). He was elected to the Central Committee of the CPI(M) in 1964 and remained its member till the 16th Congress in 1998, when he stepped down due to old age.
In the struggle against revisionism, Prasada Rao played a leading role. He was one among the 32 National Council members who left the CPI and were instrumental in the formation of the CPI(M). When the entire Andhra leadership of the Party was detained during the years 1964 to 1966, he took upon himself the task of defending the Party from both right deviation and left adventurism. His contribution to rallying the Party against the naxalite disruption is immense.
Prasada Rao distinguished himself also as a legislator. He served as a Member of the Rajya Sabha for one term and as a Member of the AP Legislative Council for one term. He was a member of the Land Reforms subcommittee of the Second and Third Planning Commission.
Prasada Rao served the Communist movement with unswerving dedication for a full sixty seven years. He had the distinction of being one of the oldest members of the Party and also one among those who had a long Party life. He was a redoubtable defender of the principles of Marxism-Leninism. His contribution to the growth of the communist movement in Andhra Pradesh and the country will always be remembered.
Despite hailing from a well to do family, N. Prasada Rao led a simple life. His need were spartan. His life exemplified communist values. His life was marked by suffering and sacrifice, including long years in jail and underground. He donated his entire property to the Party.
In his death the CPI(M) and the trade union movement have suffered a grievous loss. The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) pays its respectful homage to his memory. It conveys its heartfelt condolences to his family members.