Andhra Pradesh

Analysis: TTD decision to sell unused and unviable properties attains political hue in Andhra Pradesh

Y.V. Subba Reddy.  

The relaxation of lockdown has apparently given sufficient room for political drama to unfold in Andhra Pradesh with the property auction notice of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) snowballing into a major controversy.

The three key political parties — the YSR Congress (YSRCP), the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — have launched blame game accusing each other of the omissions and commissions while the Jana Sena Party and the Left wanted the order to be withdrawn. Ultimately, the ruling YSRCP seems to be having the last laugh as a political bigwig like Subramanian Swamy has found fault with the TDP and the BJP.

The TTD Board has decided to auction 50 “unused and unviable properties” in the form of residential sites, houses, agricultural land etc spread across Tamil Nadu. The upset price was set at ₹1.54 crore. The TTD, in a follow up meet to the one that took place on February 20 this year, has decided to auction these properties and decided to go ahead with the auction and communicated the same to the government. However, post backlash from all the political parties and adverse public response, mostly on social media, the government has put the decision on hold.

Praveen Prakash, Principal Secretary (Political), in a statement to the media, said the TTD was asked to re-examine the issue in consultation with stakeholders like religious elders, opinion makers and devotees. The statement said the decision was originally taken by the TTD Board through its resolution no.253 in January, 2016.

The irony is the auction was initiated by the BJP member in the TTD Board. It was also the time when BJP’s P. Manikyala Rao was serving as the Endowments Minister in the TDP Cabinet, an part of the TDP-BJP alliance.

However, the decision came under severe criticism by the Opposition parties now. Citing public sentiment, TDP, BJP, Jana Sena and the Left parties have sought withdrawal of the decision.

Terming it a threat to the Hindu Dharma, BJP State president Kanna Lakshminarayana took out a day-long protest at his residence in Guntur and said it’s a continuing plan to dispose of the properties gifted by the devotees. “The GO says the government has not stopped the attempt of selling the TTD land. We demand that the government withdraw the decision,’’ he said.

The TDP too went hammer and tongs at the TTD over the issue.

Then, BJP senior leader Subramanian Swamy  'Rajya Sabha MP'.' told TV channels on Wednesday that it’s the TDP which is playing politics in the issue. “The sub-committee on public auction of lands was constituted in 29 January, 2016 when the TDP was in power and the BJP was in alliance. Bhanu Prakash Reddy was the BJP’s permanent member in the TTD Board. The committee decided that these 53 properties are not viable and not maintainable and so the TDP government has decided to auction them,” Mr. Swamy said. He even congratulated Chief Minister YS. Jagan Mohan Reddy for handling the issue in an ideal manner.

Last but not the least, the auction of properties by TTD is not a new phenomenon. Over 129 such unviable properties have been sold by governments between 1974 to 2017, according to TTD Chairman YV Subba Reddy. “About 20 properties were sold by the TDP government under the former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu,” said Mr. Subba Reddy.

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2021 2:28:26 AM |

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