AP Ministers ill-at-ease to answer questions on stampede

New Delhi/Hyderabad, July 18: National channels lashed out at the Andhra Pradesh government for the stampede incident at Rajahmundry pushkar ghat in which about 27 pilgrims died. Times Now channel shot a question at AP IT Minister Palle Raghunatha Reddy that 27 persons died as AP chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, along with his family members took the holy bath at a public ghat instead of VVIP ghat. Minister Palle was too ill-at-ease to answer the question. The channel didn't leave Municipal Minister Narayana also. The anchor directly asked him was it not Chandrababu Naidu responsible for the stampede, leaving the Minister to fumble with words. According to sources, Chandrababu Naidu dissatisfied with low publicity to the Godavari nitya haarati, wanted to have international publicity for the pushkaralu. He allegedly made an agreement with National Geographic Channel for making a short film on the pushkarlu. Rs 30 lakh as production cost, Rs 19 lakh for digitalisation, Rs 8 lakh for promotion and including other costs, the AP government agreed to pay Rs 64 lakh to the channel. The file is now circulating in AP Secretariat. A few eyewitnesses said that because of this short film only Chandrababu Naidu came to the public ghat, instead of VVIP ghat. They said Naidu might have sought more public presence while he and his family members were taking the holy dip and other rituals during the shooting. The public was stopped for two hours due to this programme. When they were released, all of a sudden stampede took place, killing 27 people.

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