A heated argument ensued between Temple Executive Officer M. Raghunath and staff-on-duty at sanctum sanctorum over darshan of three persons, here on Thursday.

The Executive Officer sent three persons for darshan during harati hour atop Indrakeeladri. The priests and other staff objected the entry of three persons stating that no person would be allowed to enter the anataralaya while harati was being performed. They even closed the gates.

Irked over this, Mr. Raghunath summoned the staff and sought their explanation. At that time he turned his ire on temple paricharika Suri Babu and told him that his services were no more required. Vijayawada (Central) MLA Malladi Vishnu upon learning about the incident assured the staff that he would discuss it with the EO, employees said.

The proposal to allow VIPs and VVIPs during harati has been inviting opposition from the religious staff and employees. In view of Principal Secretary (Revenue) K. V. Ramana Chary turning down the VIPs request to allow them on to Hamsa Vahanam, as a quid pro quo agreement it was proposed to allow the VIPs during harati hour; there was also another proposal to allow them from main entry –rajagopurm—for darshan during Dasara so as to keep them in good humour. However, all these suggestions were opposed vehemently, sources say.