Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy participated in "Kamadhenu Gopuja" or the worship of cows today on Kanuma, the day after Pongal when cows are worshipped, amid increasing attacks by the opposition that he has been neglecting Hindus.
The event was being organised by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam or TTD and International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON at Narsaraopeta in Guntur district.
State Home Minister Sucharitha, MP Krishna Devarayalu, MLA Srinivasa Reddy and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam executives AV Dharma Reddy and P Basanth Kumar inspected the Sports Authority Stadium Grounds at Narasaraopet where the sacred Kamadhenu Puja (Gopuja) was conducted by the temple trust.
For decades, the TTD had been conducting Gopuja on Kanuma festival day. This year, besides the 50 TTD temples, Gopuja will be conducted at all 996 temples under the state endowments department on January 15.
"It is a good fortune for the people of Narasaraopeta that the event is being conducted by TTD in the town where the Chief Minister will also take part. This sacred event would bring good fortune to the state," Home Minister Sucharitha said.
The Chief Minister's proposed participation in the cow puja comes at a time when political parties, from the BJP to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), seem to be clamouring to articulate the Hindutva ideology.
Criticising recent attacks on temples, Telugu Desam president and opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu had said some 25 Hindu temples were vandalised because the state has a "Christian chief minister, a Christian home minister and even a Christian DGP (police chief)".
The BJP has accused the Chief Minister of not sending a stern message to mischief-makers, emboldening them.