The manifesto proposes that the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams trust board be supervised by a body of seers.

Devotees walking towards the Tirumala temple File Photo/TTD
news Tirupati bye-poll Monday, April 12, 2021 - 10:29

The BJP-Jana Sena alliance has released its manifesto for the Tirupati Lok Sabha bye-election, to be held on April 17. Among several other assurances, the manifesto promises to ‘protect’ the TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams) trust, which manages the affairs of the Tirumala Venkateswara temple, from government control.

The manifesto proposes to set up a body called ‘Dharmacharya Mandali’, to manage the assets of the TTD. It proposes that an empowered body of seers will monitor the TTD trust instead. A similar structure would be replicated for Hindu temples across the state, the manifesto said. It also promised to make Tirupati the spiritual capital of the world, and to promote culture and arts in the region. It also mentioned that the propagation of other religions in the area would not be allowed. 

The BJP in Andhra Pradesh has repeatedly alleged that there is a threat to Hindu temples in the state under the YSRCP government. Both the TDP and the BJP-Jana Sena alliance have alleged that there has been a rise in temple attacks under the Jagan government, alleging inaction on the part of authorities. The state government and police have denied these allegations, and stated that the number of attacks have not risen dramatically compared to previous years. 

The BJP has also repeatedly alleged that ‘forced religious conversions’ were happening in Tirupati and other Hindu pilgrim sites in the state under the YSRCP government. While religious conversions are not illegal in India, some states have laws against forced conversions. However, there has been no evidence of forced conversions in the state so far. 

BJP state president Somu Veerraju, BJP Rajya Sabha MP GVL Narasimha Rao, BJP state general secretary Vishnuvardhan Reddy and Jana Sena Party political affairs committee chairperson Nadendla Manohar, and Tirupati bye-election candidate Ratna Prabha released the party’s manifesto in Tirupati on Sunday. 

Meanwhile, Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan has isolated himself after many of his staff members tested positive for the coronavirus. 

While the BJP-Jana Sena alliance has fielded retired bureaucrat and former Karnataka Chief Secretary Ratna Prabha, the YSRCP has fielded M Gurumoorthy, the family physiotherapist for Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and his kin. The TDP has fielded Panabaka Lakshmi, a former Union Minister. 

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