Jagan's visit to Tirumala rakes up controversy

The entry of  YSR Congress chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, a Christian by religion , into Tirumala Balaji’s temple on Wednesday without signing the mandatory Declaration form for non-Hindus has stirred up a fresh controversy in the temple town of Tirupathi slated for by elections in June.

The Kadapa MP  along with Bhumana Karunakar Reddy, former Tirumala Tirupathi Devathanams (TTD) chairman and YSRCP candidate for Tirupathi, Assembly seat and a  large group of supporters had a darshan of Lord Venkateswara. The TTD authorities had organised a special darshan as per the protocol  for a Member of Parliament and former TTD chairman.

“The MP did not sign the declaration form. When the staff asked him for it,  he told them that he had already signed the form during his visit in 2009. He further explained that when his father late YS Rajasekhar Reddy had served the lord for almost five years as chief minister there was no need for him to declare his faith again and again,”   TTD Executive officer LV Subramanyam told the media.

The TTD authorities responsible for taking the signature are in a jittery. All non-Hindus have to sign the form, declaring their faith in the Lord. TTD Executive Officer has already initiated an enquiry into the incident. The Telugu Desam Party (TTD) , which was very critical about Jagan entering the temple without declaring his faith, has demanded action against the authorities. “Jagan can’t bulldoze his way into the temple as he has been doing all these years with his father’s support,” Dadi Veerbhadra Rao of the TDP said.

Responding to the criticism Bhumana said that the same TTD which had failed to secure Sonia Gandhi’s signature on the declaration form are now making the hue and cry to please the ruling party. Unlike Jagan, the late YS Rajasekhar Reddy had a special and unusual bond with the  temple town of Tirumala-Tirupathi. Although a converted Christian, YSR always had faith in Hinduism and was an ardent devotee of Lord Venkateswara.

Although his government was entangled in many controversies involving the affairs of the TTD, which included practising of evangelism in Tirumala, reducing the jurisdiction of the holy hills, providing VIP treatment and the gold coins scandal during his tenure as chief minister, his tragic death had shaken  the pilgrim town.

Meanwhile, campaigning in Tirupathi town after his controversial darshan, Jagan made a  blistering attack on Congress Rajya Sabha member K Chiranjeevi.

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