February 22nd, 2017
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday offered pure gold jewellery worth Rs 5 crore to the Gods and Goddesses on his maiden thanksgiving trip to Tirumala temple in Andhra Pradesh after becoming the Chief Minister.
His visit was to complete a vow which he had made during his campaign for a separate state of Telangana. He had pledged gold and other ornaments to various gods and goddesses in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh if his campaign succeeded.
On Tuesday evening, CM Rao arrived with his family at the Tirupati airport by a special flight. He was given a warm welcome by B Gopalakrishna Reddy, AP Forests Minister, and some MLAs of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Gifting Gold Using Money From State Coffers
CM Rao offered Rs 5 crore worth gold ornaments to Lord Balaji and a nose-stud worth Rs 45,000 to Goddess Padmavati. Surprisingly, the offerings came from the state exchequer and taxpayers’ money. The money for the ornaments was sanctioned from the Endowments Departments through a notice given on 24 February 2015.
Criticism By the Opposition
The donations made by Rao drew flak from the opposition for spending such exorbitant amounts of public money for fulfilling personal vows.
On an earlier occasion, Telangana Congress spokesman Dasoju Sravan had asked, “First of all, it is against the constitutional norms to spend public money on religious beliefs. Secondly, he had taken the vow in his individual capacity. When he took the vow, the formation of Telangana was not anticipated, let alone KCR becoming the chief minister. How would KCR have fulfilled his vow had he not become the Chief Minister?”
This is not the first time that such a huge amount of public money has been spent towards religious donations. He had presented an 11.7 kg gold crown worth over Rs 3 crore to Goddess Bhadrakali at Warangal, on the occasion of Durga Puja during Navratri celebrations in OIctober last year.
CM Rao’s religious extravaganza has a long history. In December 2015, he conducted ‘Ayutha Chandi Maha Yagam,’ at his 120-acre farmhouse at Erravalli village in Telangana’s Medak district, to please the gods. And it was organised at a time when the state was reeling under severe drought, and farmers were committing suicide.
The Logical Indian take
Everyone has their perception of religion. CM Rao had made a vow to donate ornaments to temple which was completely personal. But, we have witnessed time and again that he is using money from state coffers to fulfil his personal vows, even if in the name of the state. Such actions go to the extent of being called laundering, as it is not being used for the welfare of the dwellers of the state. How justified is it to empty exchequer’s coffers for religious purposes in a secular state?