Andhra CM uncle’s visit to Tirumala temple sparks row

Tirupati, May 3 (IANS) A row has erupted over the visit by Tirumala Tirupati Devesthanam (TTD) Chairman Y.V. Subba Reddy and his family members to Lord Venkateswara temple, which is shut for darshan for over 40 days due to the ongoing lockdown.

Subba Reddy, who heads the body which manages the affairs of the richest temple, visited the famous hill shrine on Friday and offered prayers on his birthday, allegedly breaking the lockdown rules as places of worship have been directed to remain shut to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Subba Reddy, who is also uncle of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and a former Member of Parliament, came under attack from opposition for violating the rules to visit and offer prayers at the temple.

Citing the photographs and videos which have surfaced, the opposition parties said they not only flouted the rules by visiting the temple but also did not wear the masks and violated social distancing norms.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) General Secretary Nara Lokesh wondered how the temple doors were opened for Subba Reddy. “The common man is not able to have darshan of the Lord due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. But it is mysterious how the doors of the temple were opened. He is not only the chairman of the board but also the uncle of the Chief Minister. So, who can stop him?,” he tweeted.

Subba Reddy, however, dismissed the allegations of the Opposition. He said that he is entitled to visit the temple to review the situation as TTD chairman. He said that his wife and mother simply accompanied him during the inspection.

Meanwhile, TTD denied that the temple was opened for Subba Reddy. It clarified that daily rituals are being continued in the Srivari temple even during lockdown period.

TTD said ASubba Reddy, being the Trust Board chief holds the supervisory powers to observe rituals in Tirumala and other TTD temples.

It pointed out that the chairman shall participate in Friday Abhishekam for two weeks in a month as per norms of TTD which is in vogue for several years.

TTD said, Friday incidentally happened to be the birthday of chairman and he visited the temple along with his spouse and mother.

It said TTD board members and officials were committed to preserve the basic Agama traditions and Sanatana Dharma.

The temple body said it was unfortunate that such unnecessary and unwanted allegations were being made by the vested interests in spite of strictly observing and respecting the norms in the temple as per religious tenets.



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