Hyderabad, May 17: The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Thursday accused the head priest of the Lord Venkateshwar temple in Tirumala of being backed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) . Yesterday, the head priest of the temple, AV Ramana Deekshitulu was given forced retirement by the newly constituted Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD). The decision to archakas who have crossed 65 years of age came a day after Deekshitulu alleged financial irregularities in the TTD’s administration.
The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh accused the Centre of trying to gain control over the Tirumala temple though Archeological Survey of India. “Powerful forces in Delhi are behind Deekshitulu’s allegations regarding syphoning of temple funds and destruction of temple sanctity by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD),” reported Hindustan Times quoting Vemuri Ananda Surya, TDP leader and chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Brahmin Parishad as saying. The TDP had broken its alliance with BJP last month alleging the centre for not implementing promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act, besides granting special category status to the state.
According to a report published in Hindustan Times, Deekshitulu accused the body, headed by senior TDP leader Putta Sudhakar Yadav, of taking a “political decision” in view of his recent allegations. Surya slammed the head priest for making these allegations. The TDP leader also questioned Deekshitulu for attending a press conference organised by the BJP in Chennai also accused hin of being a supporter of YSR Congress party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy. The TDP leader also alleged the BJP of taking control of every institution across the country.
Surya quashed all the allegations made by the head priest that ancient pieces of jewellery, including precious ornaments donated by Vijayanagara king Sri Krishnadevaraya, had been misappropriated. According to the report, former TTD executive officer IYR Krishna Rao stated that the decision of the trust board to enforce retirement for priests was against the rules. He also accused the TDP government of taking revenge against the head priest. Rao also accused the TDP government of not constituting the Dharmik Parishad to oversee the recruitment of priests.