TIRUPATI: The cold war which has erupted between the chief priests of the Tirumala temple took an ugly turn with the Opposition coming all guns blazing against the government and the trust board. The Opposition parties are now accusing the TTD board of not taking a clear stand on the resolution passed by the previous trust board over the retirement of hereditary priests once they cross the age of 65 years, before taking Dr A.V. Ramana Deekshithulu back into the fold.
Dr Deekshithulu made allegations that several precious jewels were missing from Tirumala, besides other claims of financial irregularities in the TTD, the-then trust board, under the chairmanship of Putta Sudhakar Yadav, passed a resolution fixing up a retirement age for hereditary priests at the Tirumala temple.
Going ahead with the implementation of the controversial resolution, the then trust board forcibly retired four chief priests, including Dr Deekshitulu. The trust also implemented the same resolution at Tiruchanoor temple, forcibly retiring hereditary priests A.B. Seshadri and M.G. Murali associated with the goddess Padmavathi Ammavari temple in June, 2018.
The hereditary priests of Tirumala and Tiruchanoor subsequently appealed against the decision in the High Court, and the Supreme Court, in separate cases, seeking revocation of the TTD resolution.
The Hyderabad High Court set aside the resolution of the TTD trust board and ordered the temple administration to reinstate hereditary priests of the Tiruchanoor temple with immediate effect in December 2018.
“The temple administration didn’t take any move on reinstate the retired hereditary priests of Tiruchanoor temple, even after the High Court set aside the resolution. But, after the change of guard in the state, the present TTD trust board, under the chairmanship of Y.V. Subba Reddy, issued orders to reinstate and appoint former chief priest Dr Deekshithulu as an advisor of the Agama Advisory Board, and now, as the honorary chief priest of the Tirumala temple”, G Bhanuprakash Reddy, former TTD board member, and BJP state secretary.
Speaking to mediapersons at Tirumala on Thursday, Mr Reddy said “Following the developments, and Ramana Deekshithulu’s controversial attitude, a discontentment has erupted between hereditary priests. A cold war is prevailing between priests at the sacred abode of Lord Venkateswara.”
“We learnt that a heated argument took place between Ramana Deekshithulu and present chief priest Venugopala Deekshithulu over the issue of bringing up flowers from outside sources and lighting a lamp inside the temple with the ghee brought from Ramana Deekshithulu’s house. It is a violation of temple tradition and practices that are in vogue at this temple since time immemorial,” he said.
Alleging that the trust board has not followed due process in reappointment of Dr Deekshithulu, Mr Reddy said that without taking a clear stand on the resolution passed by the previous TTD trust board over the retirement of priests, TTD has reappointed only Ramana Deekshithulu, while there was no development in the case of remaining retired hereditary priests’ issue,” he alleged.
Demanding that Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy government revoke the orders issued to reinstating Dr Deekshithulu, Mr Bhanuprakash Reddy said, “His known for his controversial attitude. Be it changing the nama of the presiding deity, deviating from traditions and making false allegations against the trust, his acts and statements are always controversial.”