Row over Jagan's 'refusal' to light lamp at US event

Amaravati, Aug 21 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy's alleged refusal to light a lamp at an event in the United States kicked up a row with BJP alleging that he insulted Hindus, but YSRCP rubbished the allegation.

The incident occurred at an event in Dallas attended by Jagan Reddy, who is currently on a private visit to the US.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders posted the video of the event alleging that he refused to light the lamp.

"He just fooled AP Hindus for votes, by visiting temples. He was a Hindu for votes, like RaGa," tweeted BJP's state unit in an obvious reference to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's temple visits.

BJP's national secretary and co-incharge of party affairs in Andhra Pradesh, Sunil Deodhar too demanded an explanation from Jagan Reddy.

"Why did Jagan Mohan Reddy refuse to light a lamp before inauguration of a programme? He must answer," tweeted Sunil Deodhar.

Rajya Sabha member C.M. Ramesh, who recently quit Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to join BJP, too took to Twitter to comment that Jagan Reddy's action was definitely an insult to Hindus.

"It becomes clear that on the eve of elections he ran around temples for the sake of votes," said Ramesh.

YSRCP spokesperson Ambati Rambabu said a needless controversy was created. "It was the basic norm in that country to use electronic lighting and the illumination is not done manually due to fire safety measures in place, more so in an auditorium," he said.

He alleged the issue was raked up and was blown out of proportion by TDP and BJP and others who crossed over from TDP to BJP.

"The same leaders who were silent when TDP government led by Chandrababu Naidu had demolished temples and places of worship in the name of capital formation are now trying to rake up unnecessary controversies," he said.

Jagan Reddy, though a Christian by faith, also visits Hindu temples and participates in Hindu religious ceremonies.

After the massive victory of his party in recent elections, he visited Tirumala temple. He also took blessings of Swamy Swaroopanandendra Saraswathi of Visakha Sri Sarada Peetham, said to be his 'guru' and another seer, Tridandi Srimannarayana Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar.

Jagan Reddy along with his family members early this month visited Israel for thanksgiving prayers at the places considered holy by the Christians.

--IANS

ms/prs

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