Senior Telugu Desam Party leader and former Union minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju’s game plan of gaining sympathy of people and get some political mileage in Ramatirtham temple episode seems to have backfired.
Raju was recently removed from the post of trustee of Ramatirtham temple, after the unfortunate episode of desecration of Lord Ram idol by some miscreants, stating that he had failed to protect the temple.
Earlier, too, Raju was stripped of his position as a trustee of more than 100 temples across the state, which were being funded by PVG Raju Trust of his late father from Vizianagaram royal family.
He was also removed from the Simhachalam temple trust board and MANSAS trust, which are now under the control of his niece Sanchaita Gajapathi Raju. Raju has been waging a legal battle against the decision in the court.
In a bid to gain sympathy of Vizianagaram people and show that he is still the legal heir of the royal family, Ashok Gajapathi Raju sent a cheque for Rs 1,01,116 to Ramatirtham temple on Saturday trust for the reconstruction of Ram temple and the desecrated idols.
But the temple authorities returned the cheque to Raju saying they can’t accept the cheque, much to his chagrin. The reason for rejecting the cheque, according to them, was that the entire cost of renovating the temple and making of Lord Sri Rama idol was being borne by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.
“As such, there was no need for any donations,” Endowments department assistant commissioner Ranga Rao said in a letter to Raju, while returning the cheque. The idol is now being given final touches at the sculpting workshop in Tirumala, he said.
A dejected Raju took to Twitter to express his resentment.
“First, they unilaterally dismiss me as hereditary trustee / Chairman without as much as a notice in complete contravention of section 28. Now, they reject my offerings to the Lord as a representative of the founder family for the vigrahas,” he tweeted.
He wondered even if the TTD was bearing the cost of the making of Lord Ram idol, the temple could still accept his donation which he had made as a devotee of Lord Sri Rama.
“After all, temples are run with the donations of the devotees. Even TTD gets money only from the offerings of devotees. Why should they reject my donation to the temple?” Raju asked.