The last rites of Telugu Desam Party's senior leader and former central minister K. Yerran Naidu, who died in a road accident in Andhra Pradesh's Srikakulam district early on Friday, will be performed Saturday.
A pall of gloom descended on Srikakulam, the native district of Naidu. Hundreds of mourners gathered at his village Nimmada, about 30 km from Srikakulam town.
Naidu's family decided to postpone the cremation to Saturday to enable his son, who is abroad, to attend and perform the last rites.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy announced that the last rites would be performed with state honours.
The 55-year-old leader died when the car in which he was travelling hit an oil tanker ahead of it near Ranasthalam in Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra, about 700 km from Hyderabad, around 2 am.
Naidu, a politburo member of the TDP, was returning to Srikakulam from Visakhapatnam after attending a wedding.
A profusely bleeding Naidu was shifted to the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Srikakulam town, where doctors failed in their efforts to resuscitate him. He was declared dead around 3.30 am.
Four others travelling with Naidu were also injured. Two of them were admitted to the RIMS.
Yerran Naidu, a four-time MP and a member of state assembly as many times, is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
He served as the union minister for rural development and employment in the United Front government from 1996 to 1998. After an autopsy at the RIMS, the body of Naidu was kept at the TDP office in Srikakulam to enable people to pay their last respects. It was later shifted to his native village.
Yerran Naidu's brother Atcham Naidu, a member of the state assembly, rushed back to Srikakulam from the temple town of Tirupati, where he was visiting.
Leaders cutting across party lines expressed shock over the death of Naidu. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi condoled his death.
Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana and Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah also condoled Naidu's death.
The TDP plunged into gloom. Party chief and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who was on a 'padayatra' in Mahabubnagar district, rushed to Hyderabad to board a flight to Visakhapatnam. He will travel by road to Srikakulam.
Chandrababu termed Yerran Naidu's death as a huge loss to the party. "He was a politician with high moral and ethical values and a man of masses," an emotional TDP chief said.
YSR Congress Party honorary president Y.S. Vijayamma, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao, Bharatiya Janata Party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu and leaders of the Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India-Marxist were among those who condoled Yerran Naidu's death.