February 22, 2017 2:33:30 pm
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao donated gold ornaments worth ₹5.5 crore to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams trust that manages the Tirupati temple in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district. This was apparently to fulfil a vow he took to get separate statehood for Telangana. The striking detail is that the donation to fulfil that personal vow was taken reportedly from the state exchequer–the taxpayer’s money.
Citizens of this country don’t pay taxes for a politician to spend on his PR. If anything, he should’ve given the donation out of his own pocket. The ₹5.5 crore could’ve been spent elsewhere for the betterment of citizens.
The gold ornaments in KCR’s donations include a Saligrama Haram (lotus model golden necklace) that is said to weigh 14.90 kg. He has also offered a five-row Kante (carcanet) that weighs 4.65 kg. Surely, the gods don’t quantify their blessings in accordance to the exuberant offerings people like KCR give out.
KCR seems to have blatantly misused his authority to gain popularity and the tragedy is that in a deeply religious society like ours, nobody blinks an eye when politicians misuse public money in the name of deity appeasement.
During his agitations, KCR reportedly vowed to present gold ornaments to appease deities if his wish for a separate Telangana state came true. He had vowed to donate a golden crown for the idol of Goddess Bhadrakali of Warangal, a golden moustache to Lord Veerabhadra Swamy’s idol at Kuravi in Warangal, a nose stud to goddess Kanaka Durga’s idol in Vijayawada and another to goddess Padmavathi’s idol in Tiruchanur.
It was said that KCR would donate these ornaments out of his personal wealth. However, reportedly the money came from Common Good Fund for the Endowments Department. This fund is meant to renovate ramshackled temples. Clearly, gifting ornaments does not fulfil that purpose. In fact, taxpayers’ grant is not even required for the TTD.
The budget for TTD – one of the richest temple trusts in India – in the current fiscal is ₹2,678 crore and ₹2,858 crore has been approved for 2017-18. The trust runs a demat account in the name of Lord Balaji. It earns hundreds of crores from ‘special entry’ and ‘privilege darshans’. The trust expects at least ₹258 crore from special entry darshans for this year and at least ₹100 crore from the auction of various varieties of human hair recovered after ‘mundan’ ceremonies. It also expects a revenue of ₹807 crore as interest on investments and ₹124 crore from accommodation at their lodges. So the purpose of the donations, had it even been monetary, seems to be clearly political.
KCR was welcomed with fanfare in the temple town where the famed shrine of Lord Venkateshwara is located–the same town which witnessed massive agitations against KCR’s Telangana movement. KCR massaged the egos of devout followers and now poses as the anti-villain in front of his critics.The common folk, by and large, get swayed by such acts and the end result is anything but related to faiths or beliefs.
Slogans of “Nirupedala needa” (saviour of the poorest), “Avineeti Raabandula Simha Swapnam” (nightmare for the corrupt eagles of the state), and “Jana Netha” (People’s leader) were raised in his welcome with huge hoardings marking his arrival. In the same place, he was branded evil and this was simply a PR exercise at the expense of hardworking citizens.
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