Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI: Despite the uncertainty caused in the wake of inclement weather through out the day, Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has fulfilled all his engagements fixed for the day at Tirupati, albeit three hours behind the schedule. The bad weather literally put under cloud the busy-schedule laid out for him at Tirupati.

Schedule

He was to participate in nearly eight programmes arranged in his honour at different places in the town during his 2-hour stay before motoring up the ghat road to Tirumala for a darshan of the Lord and overnight stay. In fact at one stage it was announced that his arrival at the Tirupati helipad originally scheduled at 4.50 pm has been advanced by an hour following the cancellation of his programme in Nellore district due to an adverse weather condition.

Relief

The news about the advancement came as a relief to all those who prepared a crowded programme for the Chief Minister at Tirupati because they were otherwise worried over the short time available for them to get the CM complete all his engagements and take him in time safely to Tirumala. But as things moved, there was no advancement but on the other hand Dr. Reddy spent more time than officially allotted for his programmes at Kuppam, which interestingly is the constituency of his TDP rival and the Kuppam MLA, N. Chandrababu Naidu.

The bad weather both at Kuppam, Tirupati and all along the air-route and the delay in the CM’s departure from Kuppam amid conflicting reports from the CM’s entourage that he might cancel all his engagements at Tirupati and would proceed straight to Tirumala dampened the spirits of the party workers. There were also rumours in the last minute that he was planning to skip Tirupati completely because of the heavy downpour all over and fly back to Hyderabad.

The confusion however ended, at least temporarily, when word came that he took off to Tirupati from Kuppam. This eventually saw all the Ministers, MLAs, partymen, mediapersons, officials, cops scurry up to the helipad amid rain and wait under the shamianas for the CM’s arrival.

Short-lived

But the feeling of relief was only short-lived as the wireless sets of the cops crackled and the cell-phones of the officials, ministers and the MLAs screaming that the chopper carrying the Chief Minister and others on board after flying for a while had to hurriedly return to Kuppam due to hostile weather condition en route. When the news broke out that Dr. Reddy would be reaching Tirupati only by road in his convoy from Kuppam which would take at least three hours, the helipad soon wore a desolate look as all those who milled around the place till then headed back home.