Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy is likely to appoint his uncle and former MP YV Subba Reddy as chairman of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Trust Board.
The TTD Board, which governs the famous Sri Venkateshwara temple in Tirumala, is made up of bureaucrats and IAS officers to ensure coordination. The position of the TTD chairman means a Cabinet rank since the temple is under the state government control.
Each time a new government is installed, the position is filled up by another member.
The speculation surrounding the new appointment appears to have irked many on social media who claim that Subba Reddy is a devout Christian. Several videos circulated online claim that a ‘Christian’ cannot head the TTS Board.
“I urge all my Hindu brothers, please look at this. YV Subba Reddy is a Christian and he is being appointed as the TTD chairman. We cannot let this happen. Tirumala is a sacred place for us. I call on all the swamis at mutts to stop this horror,” an unidentified man is seen saying in one of the videos.
The news of Subba Reddy's appointment gained traction late on Wednesday. The next day, his Wikipedia page was defaced multiple times — a column about religion was added to it wherein he was declared a ‘converted Christian’.
It was found that a reported 95 users had edited and re-edited the page alternately to suggest that he was a ‘converted Christian’ and a Hindu. However, the page has now been restored to its original form with a three-line biography.
Twitter users were also part of this row. One of them even tagged BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, asking “what is the need for a ‘Christian leadership’ for a Hindu temple?”. To which Swamy replied that ‘Subba Reddy is a Pucca Hindu’.
Subba Reddy himself clarified that he practises Hinduism and his focus as TTD chairman would be to ensure all devotees are able to get their 'darshan' without hassles.
“I am a 100% Hindu and these allegations are very hurtful. They have definitely been done by people who want to malign my image. I have been a regular visitor to Sabarimala and have always followed Hindu rituals. Such rumours are uncalled for,” Subba Reddy told local media on Friday.
Newly-elected chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy and his family practise Christianity. It is said that Reddy’s paternal family had adopted the religion decades ago. However, Subba Reddy, who belongs to Jaganmohan’s maternal side of the family, practises Hinduism.
This is not the first time that a TTD chairman has been questioned about his religious beliefs. The current chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav, appointed by N Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP), had to publicly declare he was a Hindu after rumours abounded on social media last year that he followed Christianity.
After photographs of the event went viral on social media, Sudhakar Yadav clarified that he had earlier participated in a Christian function in his capacity as a politician and due to his personal faith.