‘We are not untouchables and we too are aware of the customs'

Elected representatives have vociferously asked for a seat for them on ‘hamsa vahanam', a boat used for celestial ride of goddess Kanaka Durga during Dasara festival, questioning the existing practices. Secondary Education Minister K. Parthasarathy joined them, saying “Are we politicians untouchable?”

The Minister and Principal Secretary (Revenue) K.V. Ramanachary reviewed the arrangements being made for the coming Dasara festivities, here on Sunday.

The MLAs from the city — Velmapalli Srinivas (Vijayawada West), Yelamanchili Ravi (Vijayawada East), and Malladi Vishnu ((Vijayawada Central)) — raised the issue and sought to know why people's representatives were not allowed onto hamsa vahanam. When the temple priests attempted to explain that it was religious practice and because of safety measures being implemented by the temple, they were in no mood to accept it. “Don't tell that we are not aware of customs. You are not brining the ‘moola virat' (presiding deity) on board the boat. They are mere utsava vigrahalu (processional deities). Then what made you stop the elected representatives?” asked Mr. Ravi. Mr. Vishnu said, “It's all rubbish that only veda pandits and archakas board the boat. Everyone used to board the hamsa vahanam. The new rules were introduced last year and some of the officials also had a ride on hamsa vahanam last year.”

Mr. Srinivas said “You say it's a ritual that only veda pandits and archakas are allowed onto hamsa vahanam. For that matter, I wish to tell you that the processional deities are kept in One Town police station. What do you say in this regard?”

Joining issue, Mr. Parthasarathy said: “the police personnel will also board the celestial boat. Only politicians are barred. Are we untouchables?” Even as the issue was blowing out of proportions, Mr. Ramanachary intervened and assured them that he would take a decision on the basis of the records.

Endowments Commissioner G. Balaramaiah, District Collector S.A.M. Rizvi, Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal, and Police Commissioner N. Madhusudhan Reddy were present.

Keywords: hamsa vahanam