The YSRCP government on Wednesday stated that a fresh probe would be conducted into the horrific stampede at Pushkar Ghat in Andhra Pradesh, which killed 29 people, almost four years after the incident took place in 2015.
Stating that a cabinet sub-committee would be formed soon, state Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivasa Rao told the Assembly that former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu 'craze for publicity' had resulted in the unfortunate deaths.
The Minister also referred to the report filed by a one-man commission headed by retired High Court judge CY Somajayulu, and said that it had tried to absolve Naidu when he was allegedly to be blamed for the deaths as he had blocked off access to devotees, for the shooting of a film.
Pushkaram is an Indian festival dedicated to worshipping rivers and the Godavari Pushkaram, which was last held in 2015. It saw several people flock to the ghats of Vijayawada to take a holy dip.
It was widely reported that crowds had started building up on the first day of the Godavari Pushkaram at the Pushkar Ghat, but were held back, as Naidu took a holy dip first with his family and close aides, for over an hour.
Many questioned the two-hour period between 6:30 am and 8:30 am that Naidu was at the Ghat for, even as a separate VIP Ghat had been set up for security reasons.
As Naidu and his security left, the gates were opened, following which a large crowd tried to squeeze through a narrow area, resulting in the stampede. Most of those who died were elderly women.
However, in a turn of events, the Commission, in its final report submitted to the Legislative Assembly in September last year, claimed that Naidu had already entered his vehicle and left when the incident took place.
It was also reported that at the time of the incident, Naidu was filming with a crew for a documentary, which resulted in him taking a long time to finish his holy dip at the Ghat.
The report of the Commission had not gone down well with the Opposition parties in the state then, with the YSRCP questioning if the Naidu at the time wrote the report himself.