Sathupalli newly elected MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah is one of the two MLAs of the Telugu Desam Party in the newly formed Telangana Assembly. At the time of elections, Veeraiah resigned from the membership of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Board in view of the election guidelines.
In the recent elections, Veeraiah got re-elected and consequently the AP Government gave one more chance for him to serve on the TTD Board. In view of the latest appointment, he visited the hill shrine along with family members and offered puja at the temple. He met with the Executive Officer Singhal during the day. The temple authorities gave the MLAs’ family ‘Uttaradwara darsahanam’.
Speaking after his darshan, Veeraiah said he prayed for the well-being and prosperity of the people of his native Khammam district. The MLA also took part in the Mukkoti Ekadasi celebrations held by the TTD. He is going to officially take charge as the board member soon.
Veeraiah has been a loyal worker and trusted leader of the TDP and he has worked to strengthen the party in Khammam district. He is also a strong supporter of Khammam ex MP Nama Nageswara Rao who lost in the Khammam town segment in recent elections.
The government and the TTD on one side and the priests and the Brahmin community on the other, have locked horns over alleged irregularities happening on the top of the seven hills. The most shocking is the allegation on violations of faith including denial of teerdha prasadam to the Lord.
The government claims that chief priest Ramana Deekshitulu was made to retire as per the existing rules. But, the community and some faithful intellectuals reject the government’s point of view and claim that the duties of serving the God are bound by the faith of the person and not the rule of law.
The BJP had taken up the issue dragging it from the Seven Hills to the national capital and even to the doors of the Supreme Court. The administrative irregularities can be discussed and judged by the courts of law. But the issue of faith is something different and one wonders how a priest is made to retire at certain age. The work of the priest in the temple is not an employment where files can be cleared by the successor. It is not just faith here. It is something to do with the practices that are followed to worship the God. The practices are important to protect and keep up the sanctity of the place that increases the faith of the people. This has nothing to do with the age as it has to be passed on to the future generations.
One wonders why the issue had come up now. If one looks back to the sequence of events happened around Tirumala this month, the flashpoint started after the visit of BJP national chief Amit Shah. The BJP chief had worshipped the presiding deity Lord Venkateswara after completing the electioneering in Karnataka. The BJP chief had the darshan of the deity while the TDP leaders were holding protest outside the temple.
The newly formed TTD, which is more loyal to the TDP, seems to have found itself uncomfortable with Shah given the traditional welcome and offered rituals. That is what appears as the flash point for the row. The priest who had received Shah was kicked out by the TTD forcing him to retire as per the rules. The kicked out priest had again rushed to Shah giving scope for everyone to suspect as if the current row is political and is between the TDP and the BJP.
Charges of corruption are not new to the TTD and we have been hearing them year after the year. The money involved in various works or the huge spending of the TTD on various projects comes as baggage of corruption with the ruling party leaders taking lead. But this time, the issue is surrounding around the faith and practices at the temple. This is potentially strong enough to disturb the faith of the devotees. The charge that god was not given the teerdha prasadam for weeks together is not acceptable. Whoever is responsible for the same has to be punished.
There is a controversy over the government appointing a north Indian IAS officer as the temple executive officer. But, that was something to do with the administration and it did not disturb the faith of the devotees. But Ramana Deekshitulu’s allegations are connected to the faith of the people as his claims are about violation of practices.
The controversy that would hurt the religious sentiments of the people is not good either for the party in power or the people in place at the temple.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had made an attempt to take over the prestigious temples under the control of the Tirumala Tirupati Devastanams (TTD) in Tirumala. In the name of protected monuments, treating the temples as historically important, the ASI had sent a letter to the TTD seeking the list of such temples to be identified and then subsequently taken over for their protection. However, in no time, the ASI withdrew the letter suspecting public anger against that move.
Whether the ASI’s attempt has Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nod or not, the issue had come as handy for the State government to target the BJP leadership and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Though yet to respond, the issue is likely to go handy for Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to target the Prime Minister. The Chief Minister is already launching war against the Prime Minister on denial of the special category status and other benefits to the State and the TDP is holding series of protest events across the State.
On Sunday, Anakapalli MP Muttamsetti Srinivas, popularly known as Avanti Srinivas, launched a day long hunger strike against Narendra Modi. There is at least one protest in the 13 districts of the State every day where the TDP is targeting the BJP and the prime minister. Besides the injustice done to the State, the TDP leaders are taking up issues like the demonetisation, scams and crime against women reported across the country to hit at the BJP and the Prime Minister.
Now, the attempt of the ASI to take over the TTD temples is yet another issue for the TDP, particularly Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu to hit at the Prime Minister. The State Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu is already in the news hitting at the Centre on the terms of reference given to the fifteenth finance commission and is rallying the finance ministers of 11 states together against the BJP government and Narendra Modi’s leadership. The ASI would be yet another issue for the TDP to target the Prime Minister in the days to come.
Veteran filmmaker K Raghavendra Rao who has a close association with TDP has been a member of TTD Trust Board from the past couple of years. There have been wide speculations that Raghavendra Rao has been appointed as the new TTD Chairman after the seat fell vacant from last year. KRR has been flown with wishes from all the corners after he has been appointed for the prestigious position. But the veteran director has a different story.
K Raghavendra Rao called the news fake and he clarified that he has not been approached for the role. He said that he has been serving Lord Venkateswara through SVSC Channel and is keen on planning some more new programs through the channel owned by TTD. Raghavendra Rao revealed that he is not keen on the position but he is quite interested in serving Lord Venkateswara through his work. The ace director has been away from films from some time and has been busy with the activities of SVSC channel owned by TTD.
TTD has identified around 44 employees working in TTD since 1989 belonging to other religions. TTD planning to take action on them as per the rule book. TTD EO Anil Kumar Singhal remarked that propaganda of other religions by TTD employees will not be tolerated.
TTD EO confirmed that he has already given notices to these 44 employees belonging to other religions. After taking the explanation from those employees, TTD will take efforts to re-allocate them to other government departments as per the rules. He also added, TTD kept a tab on those employees belonging to other religions and joined against rules before 1989.
Jagan is starting his foot march (Padayatra) from this Monday. Just 2 days before starting his padayatra, today, he visited Tirumala. He came to Tirumala in a traditional Hindu dress along with his close aides. All was well until TTD superintendent came with the forms of declaration to be signed, but it is then Jagan sprang surprise as he just ignored and moved on. Full details are as below.
In 1990, a government order was released (G.O. No. 311). (GO MS No. 311 of AP Revenue Endowments-1). As per this, – “It is now a mandatory rule for all those belonging to various faiths other than Hinduism
to sign a declaration form before entering the hill temple stating that they have faith in the presiding deity.” In line with this G.O.311, TTD’s act number 136 was incorporated in TTD rules. According to this rule, the people belonging to other religions must sign the formal declaration for Tirumala darshan. Even though TTD can not identify all non-Hindus visiting Tirumala and ask them to sign the declaration, TTD made it mandatory for the VIPs to sign the declaration.
When Sonia Gandhi visited TTD way back, she had signed the declaration form. But Jagan never signed the form though he is a christian. And this is not the first time. In 2012, after floating YSRCP, he visited Tirumala along with Bhumana Karunakara Reddy and denied to sign the form when TTD superintendent asked him to do so. Bhumana was former TTD chairman and he also did not insist Jagan to sign that time. Fast forward to 2017, again the same scene repeated. But this time TTD officials did not force him to sign. They just came and showed the forms. Jagan and co just ignored the forms and moved on. This triggered sort of controversy yet again. But immedeiately after this episode, Bhumana Karunakara Reddy gave statement that Jagan is staunch follwer of Hinduism.
Well, there could different repercussions for this episode. In fact, technically there is a catch here. Many people who convert to christianity follow that religion but they don’t bother to change the name of religion in their education or other certificates. That means, as per records they are still Hindus. Even while filing the nomination form (Form 2A of election commission) for contesting as Member of parliament or Member of Legislative Assembly (Form 2B of election commission) one need not reveal his or her religion or caste unless they are contesting in a reserved constituency (for Scheduled caste or Scheduled tribes) in elections. So, nobody knows which religion Jagan is claiming in his certificates and other official records- Hindu or Christian. Of course, his family follows protestant christian faith and that is known to all. Having one religion in certificate and following another is also not a crime as per supreme court verdicts as long as he is not receiving any benefit from the government because of that religion. So, If as per the certificates , Jagan is a Hindu, he need not sign TTD declaration. But if he is Christian as per records, he MUST have signed the declaration and showed his respect for the norms and government orders.
Forget about legal repercussions for some time, let’s see what kind of questions Jagan will have to face from people in this regard. To be frank, Jagan could attract most of the minority votes in 2014 – mainly because this vote bank shifted from Congress party to YSRCP as Congress lost its existence in AP. Moreover, Muslims mostly stay away from BJP and its alliance parties and they had no option other than YSRCP in 2014 in AP. But Jagan, after 2014 elections, came to the conclusion that his ‘Christian’ tag made Hindus kept him at bay and started various attempts to attract Hindus (and their votes). His recent meet with Chinna Jeeyar Swamy seeking his blessings is one such attempt. He also met Swarupananda Swamy and sought his blessings. His close associates are talking of doing ‘Yagas and Yagnas’, of late. And, Jagan today went for Tirumala Darshan. All of this is fine, but when the TTD superintendent came with those declaration forms to be signed, he simply ignored and moved on. If he is a Hindu as per records, in which case he need not sign, he can openly declare his faith to the people. But, as everyone knows, he can not do that. And if he is christian by faith as per records too, there is nothing wrong in that as anybody can practice any religion as per constitution but he must have signed the forms at TTD and show his respect for the norms. But, for some reason, he did not do that too.
Jagan seems to be somehow losing his strong base in minorities by giving unconditional support to Modi and BJP at times and at the same time he is not gaining the new base in majorities by doing this kind of silly mistakes. One thing that he, or for that matter any political leader needs to understand is this – they can not simply pretend on something and gain political advantage. People are not that gullible. Don’t take people for granted !!!
The appointment of 1993 batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, Anil Kumar Singhal, as the Executive Officer of the esteemed Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) is mulled with controversies. Singhal, who was the resident commissioner of AP Bhavan, New Delhi, won the heart of the chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu but not the bureaucrats and politicians.
The government has ever since appointed IAS officers who belonging to South India to the TTD executive officer’s post. Those opposing the appointment claim that it is not mere IAS post but TTD EO should understand Hindu especially South Indian culture and TTD concords. They also said that it is very difficult for Singhal who hails from Himachal Pradesh to understand the TTD conventions and culture.
The IAS officer was allocated to Telangana after the bifurcation but he opted Andhra Pradesh. Allegedly Singhal played vital role in not only routing the Central funds but also framing the critical Special Package for the State. While on one hand Singhal seemingly has support of Telugu MPs, on the other hand speculations are rife that TDP government bowed to pressure from the central government and Sangh Parivar.
When there are allegations that North Indians are dominating South Indians, the first one to respond is obviously Jana Sena party chief Pawan Kalyan. He took to twitter and questioned, “Would they allow any South Indian to take up the administrative position of such scared shrine of Northern India like … “Amarnath Varanasi and Madhura etcetra…”
Taking it further Swami Swaroopananda Saraswati, terming the appointment as “unfortunate”, said if needed he would knock the doors of the court.
Nonetheless, Singhal who took charge on Saturday as the 25th TTD EO will be at the helm of temple for two years. He conducted a whirl wind inspection covering all the prominent places in Tirumala and also interacted with the pilgrims on Sunday. The road ahead of Singhal is tough, especially the never ending pilgrim-related problems, loss of over 200 crore rupees in the sale of laddus and distribution of funds to the tune of Rs. 125 crore for various projects. Several projects under TTD are not giving the expected results.
Guntur: Narasaraopet MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, dashed off a letter to Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, offering to quit the Parliament if that was coming in the way of his appointment as the next chairman of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD). The term of the present board headed by Chadalavada Krishna Murthy expired on April 30, giving a chance to the government to constitute the Board afresh.
Rayapati, who had been unsuccessfully trying for the TTD chairman post for more than two decades, had finally decided to try his luck this time. He lobbied hard during the Congress regime in the past, particularly between 2004 and 2014 but could not make it. Having switched over to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) during the 2014 elections and had won from Narasaraopet Lok Sabha Constituency, Rayapati, the strong man of Guntur politics, is mounting pressure on the Chief Minister for the prime slot. He is locked in a tough competition with Rajamahendravaram MP M Murali Mohan this time. Murali Mohan is a known associate of Chandrababu Naidu and is a leading investor in the real estate sector, besides a senior actor and producer in the Tollywood. It is to be seen how Rayapati would make it to the Board at least now as, according to him, this is the last chance for him to try.
The State government had appointed senior IAS officer Anil Kumar Singhal as the executive officer of the TTD in the place of D Sambasiva Rao. Singhal is the first non-Telugu bureaucrat to be made the TTD chief. Having changed the bureaucratic placement in the TTD, the task before the Chief Minister is now to constitute the TTD Board. Sources said that Chandrababu Naidu is in favour of continuing the membership of Tollywood director K Raghavendra Rao and Infosys founder Sudha for another term. He is said to be thinking of filling the Board this time with the leaders from the Rayalaseema region as that would help the TDP in the next elections.
Vijayawada: A tough fight is set to be on the cards for the posts of the prestigious Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Board. As the term of the present TTD Board expires today, April 26, the ruling TDP leaders are lobbying for the posts. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu who is set to leave for US tour on May 3, is likely to fill the posts before his departure.
Two MPs, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao from Narasaraopet in Guntur district and Maganti Murali Mohan from Rajamahendravaram in East Godavari district are said to be fighting for the TTD Board chairman post. While Rayapati has been trying unsuccessfully for the post for over a decade, Murali Mohan jumped into the fray after his victory in the 2014 elections. Interestingly, present chairman Chadalavada Krishna Murthy is also trying his luck for another term, but his chances are said to be less. Sources say that Rayapati is mounting heavy pressure on the Chief Minister to name him for the Board. Murali Mohan, who is close to the Chief Minister for decades, is also putting his pressure for the post.
Meanwhile, the Chief Minister is said to be planning to accommodate the dissident legislators and leaders who could not make it to the Cabinet in the recent rejig. He is said to have made up his mind to nominate at least two YSR Congress MLAs who have defected to the party and could not get the place in the Cabinet. Besides, the Chief Minister is also planning to nominate dissident leaders in the TDP, besides one post for the Telangana TDP leaders. It is also said that Chandrababu Naidu is in favour of continuing the membership of at least two of the present Board. Popular director K Raghavendra Rao and Infosis founder Sudha are said to be the most favoured members to be continued for another term.
This time, Chandrababu Naidu wants to give lions share in the TTD Board to the leaders from the Rayalaseema region, where he is planning to beat Opposition leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy in the next round of election. Besides inclusion of N Amaranath Reddy and C Adinarayana Reddy into the Cabinet, the Chief Minister wants to have greater representation for the leaders from this region to make inroads into the Jaganmohan Reddy’s base.
Andhra Pradesh government for the first time issued instructions in the form of a GO to the Tirumala Tirupati Devastanams (TTD) to perform pujas for the invocation of God of Rains to revive the monsoons which are missing in more than half of the state.
The endowments department issued a GO directing CED and the EO, TTD “to perform Yagnas and Yagams, Abhishekams etc. for the purpose of receiving bountiful rains every year at the time of onset of monsoon season and also at various other times as is necessary to ensure various benefits to society”.
“The development of temple culture in Bharata Varsha has its origins in the Agama Sastra which has its origins in the Veda. The performance of Vedic rituals in temples is an important part of the temple culture. Since times immemorial, Indians have been performing Yagnas and Yagas every year to propitiate deities like Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu, Varuna, Agni, Indra etc. These Yagnas were performed for the general welfare of society, to increase fertility of soil, to invite rains, welcome peace and health for society etc.,” the GO said.
In fact, water experts suggested to the states of Andhra, Telangana and Karntaka, a practicable solution to get water from Krishna-Bhima basin which is being diverted by Maharashtra for power generation.
None of the states have responded to the call given by Himanshu Thakkar and Parineeta Dandekar of SANDRP (Sourth Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People) to stop ‘mindless’ Westward diversion of Krishna basin water by Maharashtra which is being drained into sea . By this Karnataka, Telangaan, Andrha pradesh could be saved from being hit by looming severe drought. AP seems to be more confidence in godly intervention rather than following advice by human experts.
For more details see: http://www.telugu360.com/experts-sos-to-save-ap-ts-and-karantaka-from-drought/
The Tirumala Tirupati Devastanams (TTD) abandoned the Controversial project ‘ Ananda Nilayam- Ananta Swarnamayam’. The project aimed at covering entire sanctum sactorum of temple with gold. The massive project was launched in March 2009, when Adikesavulu Naidu was the chairman of TTD.
TTD executive officer D Sambasivarao said in the dial-your-EO program that the project was shelved following Supreme Court directive.
For the project, the TTD has so far received 145 kg gold in addition to Rs 11 crore cahs from devotees. He said the TTD had written letter to the donors about the decision to abandon the project of gold plating temple.
As many as 127 devotees donated about 145 kg of gold for the project including Mukesh Ambani (1 kg), Yeddyurappa (1 kg) and Lata Mangeshkar (1 kg). Several devotees donated as much as Rs 11 crore for the project, including Rs 6 crore by liquor baron Vijay Mallya and Rs 1 crore by Mukesh Ambani.
The project landed in controversy with many objecting the gold plating of an archeaologically significant structure and they invoked the archeaological survey of India as well. They feared that the wall had ancinet inscriptions in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil, and would get erased or damaged if gold plating was done.
The case finally reached the Supreme Court which directed the TTD to scrap the project in which six doors out of 14 had already been gold plated.