Leader of the Opposition and YSR Congress party president, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy visited the Tirumala shrine on Friday and offered prayers to Lord Venkateswara. On this occasion, the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) deliberately glossed over norms of state protocol under which the Leader of Opposition is accorded due temple honours only after the state chief minister in official ranking.

Customarily, the TTD officials, headed by the Executive Officer accord a welcome to the Leader of Opposition, with due honours. This was the case when the then EO, Ajeya Kallam officially welcomed the then Leader of Opposition, Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy. In complete violation of this established convention, the Joint Executive Officer (JEO) being present, sent a lower level official to welcome YS Jagan.

When TTD officials were asked whether they were not aware of the Leader of Opposition's visit, it was learnt that they had prior information. There was widespread criticism that an institution like the TTD which should transcend political affiliations should act in this highly objectionable, partisan manner.

Customarily, Vedic pandits bless VIPs in the Ranganayakula mandapam and offer Teertham and Prasadam. TTD releases photographs related to VIPS on such special occasions. This convention was also thrown to the winds, in a shocking departure from tradition. Analysts criticised the TTD sharply for not following due protocol with respect to the visit of the Leader of Opposition in AP.

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