Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], September 6 (ANI): Andhra Pradesh Endowments Minister Velampalli Srinivasa Rao on Monday slammed state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for allegedly provoking communal disturbances in the state.
Condemning BJP's demand to allow Ganesh pandals and immersion processions for the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi during the Covid-19 pandemic in the state, the minister asked if the state BJP president Somu Veeraju could change the Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Central government and if he deliberately wanted the spread of Covid in the state.
Addressing the media, Rao asked if BJP leaders wanted people to die since they did not vote for them and claimed that BJP was trying to provoke religion-based politics in the state.
"The state government did not forbid the celebrations of Ganesh Chaturthi. It only asked to celebrate the festival following the Covid-19 guidelines issued by the Central government and in a simple manner," he stated.
"Anybody can celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi at their homes or temples. We just asked not to erect huge idols and pandals and to hold massive processions. BJP government in Karnataka has also imposed restrictions to celebrate the festival with only 20 people," he added.
Rao said that BJP did not have a single MLA or MP in Andhra Pradesh and so, was playing communal politics. "People are losing families due to Covid-19. Does BJP really care for the people of Andhra," he stated.
Referring to the vandalism of temples in Vijaywada during former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's regime, Rao said, "If BJP really had any love or respect for Hindu religion, why did they not criticise Naidu who demolished 50 old temples in Vijaywada and caused deaths of 30 people during Godavari Pushkarams. BJP had always been silent on him."
The minister said the Chief Minister YS Jagan Reddy is governing the state irrespective of caste, creed and religion and all religions are equal for the Jagan government.
"BJP should not have held protests at collectorate offices. We are working as per the guidelines of the Centre. If they are wrong, you should hold protests in front of the Union Home Minister's office," he added.
Rao also warned BJP leaders of legal actions in case of violation of Covid-19 guidelines. (ANI)