In what is turning out to be a massive controversy in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation reportedly issued tickets to travellers from Tirupati to the temple town of Tirumala with advertisements of Haj and Jerusalem pilgrimage on the back. Travellers seem to have been agitated by this development and they reportedly raised the issue before the regional manager who stated that a bundle with printed material about non-Hindu pilgrimage had wrongly come to Tirupati. It must be kept in mind that Tirupati is a major Hindu shrine.
As per NDTV, the state-owned road transport corporation’s executive director for operations confirmed that this has been brought to their notice and they are probing into this incident. The officer said, “It is an advertisement of the government issued by the minorities department.” Andhra Pradesh endowments minister Vellampalli Srinivas, also spoke about this development and said that the ticket bundles were published during the days of the TDP government, before the elections. As per him, the bundles were meant for Nellore and Kadapa. The minister said, “No propaganda is allowed in a holy place like Tirumala. We are taking a very serious view of this and will punish the guilty.”
However, there does not seem to be much clarity on how these tickets ended up reaching Tirumala-Tirupati which will now be probed. BJP MLA Raja Singh from Hyderabad has put out videos raising this issue. It must be noted that the Andhra Pradesh CM had faced intense criticism recently when he refused to light lamp at a US event. The Andhra Pradesh BJP had tweeted, “Jagan Mohan Reddy refused to lamp light before inaugurating a program in the US. He just fooled AP Hindus for votes, by visiting temples. He was a Hindu for votes, like Rahul Gandhi.” It had added, “Script was well written by Prashant Kishor. Bengal can learn now.”
In fact, tenure of Jaganmohan Reddy has been riddled with controversies over minority appeasement till now. The allocation of a huge amount of public money for Imams and Christian Pastors in the state government’s budget had also raised eyebrows. “The honorarium to Imams is proposed to be enhanced to Rs 10,000 per month and of Mouzzans to Rs. 5,000 per month. Similarly, it is proposed to provide Pastors with an honorarium Rs. 5,000 per month,” said the finance minister of Andhra Pradesh in the budget speech.
The Jagan Reddy government also came under fire for extravagant state expenditure over Jaganmohan Reddy and his family’s private visit to Jerusalem in Israel. BJP leader, Lanka Dinakar, had come down heavily on the Andhra Pradesh government for releasing funds to the tune of Rs 22.52 lakh on chief minister’s security on the four-day visit. His visit was seen as seen as a thanksgiving visit after YSRCP’s unprecedented success at the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Andhra Pradesh held earlier this year.