Despite the Andhra Pradesh government issuing orders to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) to put its decision to sell its immovable properties on hold on Monday night, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decided to go ahead with its protest, which was scheduled for Tuesday.
Leaders of the BJP and their ally in the state, actor-politician Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena Party (JSP) said that they were undergoing a day-long fast to protest against the TTD's decision to sell its properties in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
They criticised the decision and said that it would hurt the 'sentiments of several crore Hindus around the world.'
Earlier this week, the TTD had decided to auction 50 of its immovable properties, stating that they are 'unviable, not useful and prone to encroachment.'
Pointing out that 129 such properties were auctioned between 1974 and 2014, the TTD said that the decision to auction the properties was proposed by the previous board in 2016, during Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP government's tenure, which also included some BJP members.
Rajya Sabha MP GVL Narasimha Rao and BJP co-incharge of Andhra Pradesh Sunil Deodhar were among the leaders who said that they fasted from their homes.
“The state government is only the patron of these assets, they have no right to sell these properties”, said Sunil Deodhar.
All activists of @BJP4Andhra & @JanaSenaParty are on fast from 9am to 5pm today.— Sunil Deodhar (@Sunil_Deodhar) May 26, 2020
Joining them from the house of @GVLNRAO in Delhi.
We demanded an ordinance from @ysjagan gov that would prevent present & future govts in AP in selling temple land & properties.@JPNadda @blsanthosh pic.twitter.com/oICBCeOOut
He further demanded an ordinance from the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, which would prevent selling of these properties.
“Lord Balaji has blessed us to hold this protest by doing a day-long fast to make the Andhra Pradesh government realise that though this order has been kept in abeyance, BJP won't let any such attempts to grab temple property to be successful and would fight tooth and nail," the party's national secretary, Y Satya Kumar tweeted.
Lord Balaji has blessed us to hold this protest by observing day long fast to make AP govt realise that though this order has been kept in abeyance, @BJP4India won't let any such attempts to grab temple property to be successful and would fight tooth and nail.@BJP4Andhra pic.twitter.com/MAeZFw64I6— Y. Satya Kumar (@satyakumar_y) May 26, 2020
Sadineni Yamini Sharma from the BJP questioned the TTD and the government and asked them, who gave them the right to sell these properties.
"These assets are not a property of any state government or not donated by any committee, but they are the property of Hindu devotees. They are cheating devotees.
The TTD board should resign and give ownership of these assets to Hindu temples or to people who can maintain them," she said in a statement.
In an order issued on Monday night, the Andhra Pradesh government asked the TTD board to discuss the issue with religious leaders and “opinion-makers”, to try and find alternate uses for the land.
“Keeping in view the sentiments of the devotees, the government hereby directs TTD to re-examine the issue in consultation with different stakeholders,” the order issued by the General Administration Department said.