The choice of names to be members of the omnibus Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Board confirms the worst-kept secret in Andhra Pradesh. That only the rich and the politically well-connected can get a seat on the prestigious TTD Board.
Three months after YV Subba Reddy who happens to be chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy’s uncle was appointed as TTD Chairman, the Board was finally constituted by the government. Last week, the Governor had increased the number of members on the Board from 19 to 29. No reason was given why the increase was needed and whether it was justified. The chief minister, under pressure to accommodate too many people looking for positions of influence and clout, decided he could make more people happy with a seat on the TTD Board if he simply increased the strength of the TTD. Apart from nominees by other leaders, Jagan has accommodated many of his old business associates and political colleagues.
CS Rangarajan, Convenor of the Temples Protection Movement and the priest of Chilkur Balaji temple near Hyderabad, laments that the TTD has been filled up with politicians and industrialists.
“It appears this government is repeating the mistakes of erstwhile governments which put liquor barons as chairmen of the TTD. We expected transparency but we are being let down again. There are many MLAs in the Board which makes it a body full of political persons being rehabilitated,” says Rangarajan.
Rangarajan’s reference is to the late Adikesavulu Naidu, a liquor baron who was made TTD Chairman by Chandrababu Naidu in 2003. Five years later, Adikesavulu Naidu got a second term as TTD Chairman, this time appointed by YS Rajasekhara Reddy as he had joined the Congress by now.
Of the eight members from Andhra Pradesh, four are YSRCP MLAs.
From Telangana, two industrialists considered extremely close to chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao – Jupally Rameshwara Rao of My Home group and Damodar Rao of Namaste Telangana newspaper – have been included.
The others from Telangana include Putta Prathap Reddy, who contested on YSRCP ticket from an assembly segment in Hyderabad in 2014 and lost and Siva Kumar who had registered the YSR Congress party with the Election Commission. Also finding a place is B Parthasaradhi, Chairman of Hetero Drugs. The pharma company was also investigated in one of the legal cases involving Jaganmohan Reddy.
Jagan has also given a seat to N Srinivasan, former BCCI president in the Tamil Nadu quota. Jagan in his business avatar has dealt with Srinivasan who owns India Cements.
Sudha Narayanamurthy retains her place on the TTD Board.
Categories: Andhra Pradesh