TDP MLA V Anitha on Sunday sent a letter to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu asking him to cancel her recent appointment as a member of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Board.
The letter was sent after opposition parties including the BJP began circulating a video on the internet, claiming that she was Christian.
Dismissing these allegations in a press meet on Saturday, the Payakaraopeta legislator stated that she had always been a Hindu and had never converted to any other religion.
In her letter on Sunday, Anitha reiterated that she was a Hindu and a big devotee of Lord Venkateswara but was being targeted for belonging to the Scheduled Caste (SC).
Stating that she did not want to controversy to blow up further, she thanked the CM and asked him to cancel her appointment.
“I am extremely grateful to you for nominating me as member, TTD. Being a Hindu, I am blessed to have been given an opportunity to serve Lord Venkateswara,” the letter stated.
The small video clip being circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp shows Anitha during an interview with Vanitha TV in 2014, where she seemingly says, "I'm Christian. Even now, there will be a Bible in my bag, and one in my car. I don't go out without it."
When the video first began doing the rounds, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the BJP, demanded Anitha's removal.
Since then, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao has also demanded her resignation.
In a series of tweets, he said, "AP CM Chandrababu Naidu has insulted Hindus by appointing TDP MLA Anitha, a self-declared Christian as a member of sacred TTD Board. He recently appointed as TTD Chairman Sudhakar Yadav with Christian leanings. Please speak up."
Rao was referring to an earlier controversy where the BJP suggested that TTD Chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav was a Christian.
The TTD Chairman later said that he participated in a Christian function in his capacity as a politician and not as a result of his personal faith.
Speaking to reporters in Vijayawada at the time, Sudhakar accused the BJP and YSRCP of running a 'malicious campaign' against him, adding that he had personally spent a lot of money on reviving temples in Andhra's Kadapa district.
Addressing Naidu on the latest issue, Narasimha Rao added, "Can you not find 15 Hindus from a billion Hindus and devotees of Lord Venkateswara. You have violated the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987 and hurt sentiments. You must apologize and withdraw. You are pursuing votebank politics formula of Congress."
Mr. Chandrababu Naidu, Can you NOT find 15 Hindus from a billion Hindus & devotees of Lord Venkateswara. You have violated the Act & hurt sentiments. You must apologize & withdraw. You are pursuing votebank politics formula of @INCIndia. Is this a joint plan hatched with SoniaG? pic.twitter.com/9haq5ov9eN— GVL Narasimha Rao (@GVLNRAO) April 22, 2018
Anitha told reporters that the video had been edited by miscreants and added that she was born a Hindu as her parents and her husband belong to the Madiga community.
The MLA released her certificates which showed that she was a Hindu along with several photos of her over the years, from her visits to Tirumala.
The legislator also released a full and unedited version of the interview where she can be seen saying that she believes in all religions.