Jagan visit to Lord Tirupati kicks up row

Hyderabad: Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy`s visit to Lord Tirupati Venkateswara temple is embroiled into a controversy following allegations of rival TDP and Congress leaders that he did not give a mandatory declaration to the authorities despite being a non-Hindu.

Senior TDP leader Dadi Veerabhadra Rao contended that Jagan, being a Christian, should have given the mandatory declaration during his visit on Wednesday to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, which manages the affairs of the shrine, that he had faith and respect for the Lord.

"Jagan has hurt the sentiments of devotees by not giving such a declaration," Rao alleged.
He also took exception to a number of followers accompanying Jagan at the highly-sacred temple.

Dismissing the allegations, YSR Congress spokesperson Ambati Rambabu said that Jagan had visited the holy shrine earlier too and that the allegations are aimed at gaining political mileage in the bye-elections scheduled to be held next month.

Asked about Jagan`s supporters raising slogans like `Jai Jagan` at the temple premises, which is prohibited, Rambabu claimed the slogan was in fact raised by a devotee standing in queue and was not part of the Kadapa MP`s group.

Meanwhile, L V Subrahmanyam, Executive Officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) told PTI that those accompanying Jagan were told about the declaration prior to the darshan but they refused.

"Two explanations they (Jagan`s supporters) gave. One is that this is not his first visit but the second one. Second was that his father (late Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy) was presenting `vasthrams` to the Lord. How come his son is not admitted for darshan. I am not empowered to stop someone from darshan. The point of interest is he deserves whatever protocol he has. But, how come so many went inside with him. I was asked about this. I said I will inquire," he said. Asked about the next course of action over the declaration issue, the EO said "no conclusion has been reached".