Are the authorities of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) bowing to political pressure to bend the rules?
The answer seems to be in the affirmative, going by the recent events in the renowned institution which is administered by three IAS officers.
The rules were indeed bent to further the interests of Member-trustees if the Thursday’s incident wherein over 700 devotees hailing from Hassan district in Karnataka were allowed for the darshan of the presiding deity through the ‘Supatham’ entry point.
The devotees nevertheless had purchased Rs.300 special entry tickets for the darshan of the deity. But what kicked up the controversy is their entry through the Supatham point which is strictly meant for the arjitha seva ticket holders and parents with infants.
Further adding to the controversy several in the troop reportedly sported badges of various political personalities while entering the queue complex.
The darshan privilege it is believed was extended on the recommendation of a TTDs board member RV Deshpande who also happens to be the Minister of Higher Education and Tourism in Siddaramaiah’s Cabinet in Karnataka.
Special entry tickets
The TTD’s Chairman office besides doling out hundreds of VIP break darshan tickets every day including arjitha seva tickets on the week days, also recommends the issuance of Rs.300 special entry tickets which is also seen as a breach of existing rules.
The Rs.300 darshan tickets are being issued to the visiting devotees on day-to-day basis depending upon the turnout in the pilgrim crowd. On the days of heavy crowd the management imposes a ‘stern limit’ on the issuance of these tickets with an intention not to leave the pilgrims high and dry.
700 devotees from Hassan district in Karnataka allowed for darshan of the presiding deity through the ‘Supatham’ entry point