HYDERABAD: Telengana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao’s thanksgiving trip to the Tirumala temple tomorrow morning will cost the taxpayer Rs. 5.6 crore. Mr Rao, his family and his ministers are to travel to Lord Balaji’s temple to fulfill a vow he had taken during his campaign for the creation of a separate Telangana.
Mr Rao aka KCR is expected to present a solid gold ornament to Lord Balaji and also gift a nose-stud to Goddess Padmavati, both revered deities at Tirupati.
The Chief Minister will take a special flight to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh for the visit. Since the creation of Telangana in 2014, this is not the first time that the state government has picked up the tab for Mr Rao’s religious pursuits.
In a previous installment of his thank-you journeys, KCR presented an 11 kg gold crown worth over Rs. 3 crore to the Goddess Bhadrakali at Warangal in October. The Telangana government commissioned a prominent Hyderabad jeweller to make the crown.
NDTV had earlier reported how crores were spent in a religious ceremony for Mr Rao in December 2015. Facing criticism for the extravagance at a time the fledgling state’s finances were wobbly, he clarified that his personal funds and “contributions from well-wishers” also went into the event.
In November, the Chief Minister moved into a palatial new home amid the chanting of Vedic hymns. The complex takes up nine acres in the heart of Hyderabad and includes a theatre for 250, homes for senior government officials and a few offices.
The Vaastu-enabled building was originally meant to cost 35 crores, but the final bill was reportedly closer to 50 crores.
The opposition has repeatedly accused KCR of drawing from taxpayers’ money for a lavish home and religious rituals.