An unusual situation has arisen in the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Trust Board after certain members, including the chairman, who had been appointed by the previous Telugu Desam Party government in Andhra Pradesh, refused to resign, despite the incumbent YSR Congress Party government asking them to do so.
Eleven members of the board, including Sudha Narayana Murthy from Karnataka, special invitee N Sri Krishna from Tamil Nadu, E Peddi Reddy and Sandra Venkata Veeraiah from Telangana and Sapna Mungantiwar from Maharashtra have resigned.
However, chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav, former TDP legislator G S Shivaji, and M Ramakrishna Reddy have refused to quit.
The TTD Trust Board administers the Lord Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala, the richest temple in the world with a turnover of over Rs 3,000 crore per annum. Between 50,000 to 70,000 devotees visit the temple every day — a number which can rise to one lakh on festivals and auspicious days. The smooth functioning of the Board is crucial for ensuring that everything works clockwork precision in the temple and devotees are not inconvenienced.
All the existing members were appointed on April 20 last year and still have 11 months’ tenure pending. However, after N Chandrababu Naidu submitted his resignation on May 23 after his party’s defeat in the elections, most of the appointed and nominated members in TTD as well as other boards and corporations resigned.
On Tuesday, S Prasad Babu resigned, leaving just Yadav, Shivaji, and Reddy on the TTD Trust Board.
As the three have refused to resign, and the YSRCP government has asked the ex-officio members – IAS officers including Executive Officer (EO) A K Singhal, Secretary of Revenue (Endowments) Dr Manmohan Singh, and Commissioner (Endowments) Dr M Padma – to not attend meetings called by Yadav, crucial decisions regarding the day-to-day governing of the temple and pilgrim amenities have been kept pending, sources said.
“It is the moral responsibility of the members to resign as they have been appointed by the previous government. This practice has always been followed. The chairman and all appointed members should resign because they have been appointed by TDP government which is not in power now. But we won’t rush into any decision now. We will see what is to be done. If necessary we will issue and ordinance to dissolve the tenure of the remaining three members,” said Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivas.
Yadav is a close relative of former Andhra finance minister Y Ramakrishnudu. He was appointed chairman after nearly a year-long delay after the previous chairman C Krishna Murthy’s term expired in April 2017. “Let the new government take a decision. Why should I resign when my tenure is not completed,” Yadav said on Tuesday.