burning of the Antarvedi temple chariot died down, three lion
statues that adorn the silver-plated chariot of the historic
Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada were found missing,
triggering yet another political slugfest in Andhra Pradesh.
The opposition parties attacked the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy
government over the missing lions while Endowments Minister
Velampalli Srinivasa Rao said the chariot was never used after
they came to power last year.
Velampalli said a departmental committee was being
constituted to look into the matter.
The main opposition TDP demanded that the Endowments
Minister be sacked forthwith and the temple executive officer
BJP state president Somu Veerraju visited the temple and
inspected the chariot.
He said only one of the four lions fixed to the chariot
was in place while the others were missing.
Even the remaining one had cracks on its feet, Veerraju
Both the TDP and the BJP demanded a thorough
The famous temple of Goddess Kanaka Durga, the presiding
deity of Vijayawada, lies in the West constituency represented
by the Endowments Minister.
The chariot was never used after our government came to
power. The investigation will reveal whether the lions were
missing now or since the previous regime, the Minister said
after visiting the temple.
The opposition parties were raising "an unnecessary hue
and cry" over this, he lashed out.
Police sources said the missing of the lion statues came
to light three days ago when an inspection was conducted in
the aftermath of the Antarvedi temple chariot burning incident
earlier this month.
The state government has ordered a CBI probe into the
However, no police case had been registered so far over
the missing lion statues, the sources said.
The Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy varla Devasthanam
Executive Officer Mohan Rao maintained that the silver-plated
chariot was kept parked inside the Mallikarjuna Mahamantapam
for the past 18 months.
TDP MLC Budda Venkanna alleged that the lion statues of
the chariot were stolen and anti-social elements were running
riot. PTI DBV