Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Tuesday received a hero’s welcome at the temple town of Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, where once massive agitations were held in protest against his movement for a separate Telangana state.
KCR, as the chief minister is better known, will visit the famed shrine of Lord Venkateshwara in Tirupati on Wednesday to present gold ornaments worth nearly Rs 5.5 crore to fulfil a vow taken during the agitation for a separate state.
Accompanied by his family members, some of his cabinet colleagues and officials, the CM was given a rousing reception by Andhra minister Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy and several Telugu Desam Party leaders from the district, besides YSR Congress party legislator Ch Bhaskar Reddy and top police officials.
At the peak of the Telangana movement, the people of Tirupati regarded KCR as something of a villain.
“It was surprising to see the turnout of crowds at the airport to see KCR. The people have realised that the bifurcation of the combined state has only brought more prosperity to Andhra,” Telangana endowments minister A Indrakaran Reddy said.
All along the route from Tirupati to Tirumala, huge hoardings and banners were put up welcoming the chief minister. “Nirupedala needa” (saviour of the poorest of the poor), “Avineeti Raabandula Simha Swapnam” (nightmare for the corrupt eagles of the state), and “Jana Netha” (People’s leader) were some of the slogans raised.
KCR will receive darshan at the temple early on Wednesday, when he will also present a Saligrama Haram (lotus model golden necklace), weighing about 14.900 kg and a five-row Kante (carcanet) weighing 4.650 kg. The total estimated value of the ornaments is said to be around Rs 5.50 crore.
Before heading back to the capital Hyderabad, Rao will also go to Tiruchanoor near Tirupati to offer prayers to the presiding deity of Padmavati Ammavaru. Over here, he is expected to present a nose stud to the goddess.
During the agitation for a separate Telangana state, KCR -- who is known for his staunch religious faiths -- sought to appease deities across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh by presenting them with golden ornaments bought using his own wealth. He vowed to present a golden crown to Goddess Bhadrakali of Warangal, a golden moustache to Lord Veerabhadra Swamy at Kuravi in Warangal, a nose stud to goddess Kanaka Durga in Vijayawada and another nose stud to the goddess Padmavathi in Tiruchanur.
However, according to official sources, the funds for making the gold ornaments were drawn from the state’s Common Good Fund of the Endowments Department, which is meant for renovation of dilapidated temples.