Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI: An emergency meeting of the TTD Trust Board has been convened on Thursday to discuss the issue of VIP passes. The meeting assumes significance in the context of chaos at Tirumala on the Vaikunta Ekadasi day following the indiscriminate issue of darshan passes allegedly by TTD Board Chairman and the Trust Board members.

In the utter chaos and confusion created by the prolonged stagnation of thousands of pilgrims in the ‘Seeghra Darshan’ and dharma darshan lines, irate devotees turned restive and smashed the iron gates and raised slogans against the TTD top-brass.

The staff union took strong exception to the management’s ‘inept’ handling of the situation on Vaikuntha Ekadasi and squarely blamed it for all the adverse publicity in the media against the TTD and its staff as a whole.

The staff union leaders after a vociferous demonstration on Tuesday denouncing the Board Chairman and the Members for the unsavoury developments, warned that they would resort to direct action if they (members) distribute ‘VIP passes’ to their henchmen on the New Year Day, leaving the ordinary pilgrims high and dry.

It is precisely to discuss the question, “what next” in the context of the stern warning held out by the leaders of the JAC of the TTD Employees that the Board members led by its Chairman, D.K. Adikesavulu, are huddling for an emergency meeting. The Board which is already in the eye of a storm following a slew of controversies, would discuss the single point — whether to issue VIP darshan passes or not to their kith and kin on the New Year day.

Opposition parties criticised the TTD management for its ‘VIP centric attitude’, without taking any lesson from the public and the media outcry. After the TDP, it was the turn of the CPI (M) and the BJP to spew fire at the TTD top-brass for developing what they called a ‘thick skin’ against public and media criticism.