TTD executive officer K Venkataramana Chary has kicked off a row by deputing a team of temple priests to Hyderabad on February 12 to officiate the marriage of the son of KVP Ramachandra Rao, the all powerful associate of chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. The delegation of priests was headed by the chief priest of the temple A V Ramana Dikshitulu.
“Since TTD priests are paid from the hundi of the temple, they are not supposed to officiate private functions,” a source in TTD told TOI. The TTD administration is already facing criticism for allegedly violating temple conventions. There are also charges of political appointments at TTD by the government. It may be mentioned here that in December, a Sudershan Yagam and Mrutyunjaya Yagam were performed in Tirumala for the benefit of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of the chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, under the auspices of TTD chief priest Ramana Dikshitulu, which had raised eyebrows.
“Now the EO of TTD took a team of priests from the Balaji temple and flew them to Hyderabad to attend the marriage though it is not part of protocol of the state government,” an upset TTD official said. He added: “Though the EO has chosen a novel way to curry favour with his political bosses, little does he know that withdrawing the priests from the Seva of Lord Venkateswara goes against the convention of the temple.”
‘The presence of the head priest at the sanctum sanctorum of Tirumala is necessary for every important ritual related to the Lord’s Seva. Withdrawing him from temple service tantamount to doing away with the service at the temple”, remarked an Endowment official. The TTD team was present on the dais at the marriage function in their formal temple wear. Attempts to reach the EO to get his version of the incident did not meet with success.