Political battle over Ramateertham

Visit by leaders of political parties to historic temple triggers tensions

Published - January 02, 2021 10:25 pm IST - VIZIANAGARAM

BJP activists clash with police at Ramateertham of Vizianagaram district on Saturday.

BJP activists clash with police at Ramateertham of Vizianagaram district on Saturday.

The 16th century Ramateertham temple turned into a political war zone on Saturday with a triangular fight among leaders and activists of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ruling YSR Congress Party as they tried to get maximum political mileage with regard to the vandalism of the idol of Lord Rama at the Kodandarama Swamy temple. The shrine is located nearly 12 km from Vizianagaram district.

Political heat reached a peak with a sudden tour by Rajya Sabha MP Vijaya Sai Reddy when former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu was scheduled to visit the temple at around 12.30 p.m. The TDP and BJP strongly opposed the visit to the temple by Mr. Vijaya Sai and ruling party leaders with YSRCP flags.

TDP leaders and cadre allegedly threw stones and chappals, and damaged vehicles in Mr. Vijaya Sai’s convoy. The sudden violence from the TDP led to further tension in the temple premises.

The police had a difficult time following a clash between TDP and YSRCP cadre. Even as tension was continuing, Mr. Vijaya Sai visited the temple premises and inquired about the incident and progress in police investigation.

The police did not allow BJP MLC P.V.N. Madhav and other leaders to visit the temple on Bodikonda hill, saying that leaders of other parties would be allowed only after the completion of the YSRCP leaders’ visit. With the tussle continuing, BJP Vizianagaram president Reddi Pavani fainted and was shifted to a private hospital in Vizianagaram.

The entire Ramateertham-Nellimarla-Vizianagaram-Visakhapatnam stretch witnessed the deployment of huge security forces.

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