Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy found himself at the centre of controversy on Saturday after he reportedly said that the former chief priest of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) should be sent to jail.
He also demanded 'police treatment' for Dr A V Ramana Deekshitulu, who was recently fired from his post at the Lord Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala.
Alleging that the ex-chief priest had colluded with the YSRCP in the state and the BJP in the Centre, Reddy told reporters, â€śDeekshitulu needs to be put behind bars and only then will all facts will be revealed. We will expose all the conspiracies from the platform of Mahanadu."
The TDP is all set for its 'Mahanadu' or annual party conclave which is being held at the Siddhartha Engineering College grounds in Vijayawada on Sunday.
However, the Minister's reported comments triggered a massive row as it did not go down to well with many people.
As Reddy drew flak from all quarters including the Brahmin community, he addressed the media again, and said that his comments had been taken out of context.
â€śI only found fault with Deekshitulu as he is making serious allegations against the government at the behest of the BJP and YSRC. Deekshitulu is nothing but a pawn in the larger conspiracy hatched by others," the Minister told reporters.
The entire incident began after Deekshitulu addressed the media earlier this month in Chennai where he disclosed that the priests have filed a petition against the administrators demanding transparency pertaining to donations and jewellery.
They also demanded to bring the TTD administration under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.
Following this, Deekshitulu has been facing criticism and he was relieved from his duties.
The TTD Trust Board passed a resolution to state that all 'mirasi archakas' (hereditary priests) must be retired on reaching the age of 65.
A Venugopala Deekshitulu has now replaced 69-year-old Deekshitulu as head priest at the Lord Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala.