Specified authority takes over TTD

Deccan Chronicle.  | dc correspondent

Nation, Current Affairs

Govt buys time to choose new board chairman

Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala. (DC photo)

TIRUPATI: The state government on Wednesday appointed a specified authority in place of the full-fledged trust board to manage the affairs of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the largest temple administration in the country.

The tenure of the previous trust board of TTD, led by former MP Y.V. Subba Reddy, who is also the maternal uncle of CM Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, ended on Tuesday. The state government invoked the Section 137 of AP Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987, to appoint the specified authority with Executive Officer Dr K.S. Jawahar Reddy as the chairman and the Additional EO A.V. Dharma Reddy as the convener. The specified authority is enabled to exercise all the powers and perform all the functions of the board of trustees of TTD until further orders.  

The decision of the state government has come as a rude shock to several aspirants within the ruling party, who strong believed that the government would constitute a new board or give an extension to the present board led by Subba Reddy. However, as various political equations are at play within the party over the issue of nominating the new TTD chairman and members, the government seems to have appointed the specified authority to buy some time.

Initially, speculations were rife that there was a possibility that the government may give an extension to Subba Reddy, who successfully managed to tide over several controversies and smear campaigns against the board during the last two years.

While some sources in the ruling party say that Reddy is eyeing a Rajya Sabha seat in the coming months, others believe he would soon be inducted into the cabinet.

With the term of several MLCs soon coming to an end, the CM is said to be planning to accommodate his in the legislative council and then induct him into the cabinet.

On the other hand, many leaders from the ruling YSR Congress have already begun their lobbying for the TTD chairmanship. Former Nellore MP Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy, Tirupati MLA Bhumana Karunakar Reddy and retired IAS officer Dr C.V.S.K. Sarma are said to be among the frontrunners for the prestigious post.

Rajamohan Reddy was asked to stand down in the 2019 elections to make way for Adala Prabhakar Reddy, the present Nellore MP. Though his son Mekapati Goutham Reddy was inducted into the cabinet, he has not been given any key post till date. In this regard, CM Jagan is said to be mulling over appointing Mekapati as TTD Chairman.

On the other hand, Tirupati MLA Karunakar Reddy, who served as the TTD Chairman in the past during the regime of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, also appears to be interested in the post for a second term. Two days ago, he met the CM at his camp office at Tadepalli and thanked the latter for sanctioning additional funds for the development of Tirupati.

The name of Dr Sarma, a 1980 batch IAS officer who served in various posts till 2013 and retired as the Agriculture Production Commissioner and Special Chief Secretary to AP government, is also doing the rounds for the TTD chairmanship post. The retired bureaucrat is said to be close to the family of the Chief Minister.