Tirupati Tirumala Devastanams (TTD) has for long been a place where politicians could be accommodated for their “services” to the ruling establishments. While so far it has been the exclusive domain of the state of Andhra Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party is reported to be actively lobbying for members to be appointed from other states like Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Times of India reports that BJP president Amit Shah has communicated to AP chief minister Chandrababu Naidu that a member each from Maharashtra and Gujarat should be nominated to the TTD board. The TTD board comprises 18 members and it is the prerogative of the state administration to appoint any one of its choice. After Naidu took over, he has been facing tremendous pressure from several TDP leaders to appoint them as members. But in the last few weeks, the BJP too has entered the picture and wants a big say in the nominations. Apart from AP , traditionally, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are represented in the board. From this year, Telangana too needs to be accommodated.
BJP’s reasons for asking for a share for Maharashtra and Gujarat are as following. We at “Andhra Nation” feel these stated reasons defy all logic. Here are BJP’s reasons and our opinion on the same.
What BJP says : After Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, devotees from Maharashtra turn up in large numbers for darshan of the Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala, while those from Gujarat too make up a significant number.
Truth: Tirumala attracts devotees from all states. So why single out Maharashtra and Gujarat ?
What BJP says : From being a regional destination of Hindu pilgrims, the temple has acquired national and international stature.
Truth: Tirumala has not acquired national and international stature after BJP came to power 6 months back. It has always been so.
Please also consider the following
- There have been no instances in the past, whatsoever, of devotees from other states facing hardships in Tirumala.
- Tirupati under Andhra Pradesh government has been one of the best managed temples. There is no need to give the board a “national flavour”.
- There are many temples outside AP frequented by a large number of Telugus. For ex,take Shirdi and Sabarimala or the temples of Tamil Nadu / those in the Himalayas besides Varanasi etc. Will AP get a share in the boards of these temples in lieu of ceding memberships in TTD.
- Lastly why single out Tirumala ? Is it because it earns the most among all temples in the country ? First of all, is there a national policy on Temple management with respects to states administrative controls ?
It is clear that the fresh proposal from BJP has nothing to do with religion or with improving pilgrim experiences/ comforts. BJP should offer better reasons for this new found interest in Tirumala, if any.
Andhra Pradesh government will do well to reject this proposal. There is no need to further vitiate this sacred temple.