Polls overshadow 'Ugadi' celebrations in Andhra Pradesh

Telugu New Year 'Ugadi' was celebrated with traditional
fervour on Saturday across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, though elections overshadowed the celebrations.

A festive atmosphere prevailed in both the Telugu states as thousands thronged the temples, praying for prosperity on the occasion of Sri Vikari Nama Ugadi. Special prayers were held at Tirumala, Srisailam, Vijayawada and Bhadrachalam temples.

People offered special prayers, decorated the entrances of their houses and shops with strings of mango leaves,
savoured traditional food and heard the 'panchangnam' to usher in the New Year.

Women prepared 'Ugadi
pacchadi', a mixture of neem buds, raw mango, tamarind juice, pepper, jaggery and salt, which is a necessary part of the celebratory dishes. The mixture symbolises various hues of life.

Politicians stayed away from the official celebration in 
Telengana. Chief Secretary S. K. Joshi attended the main official function in Hyderabad. The priest, who read out 'panchangnam' on the occasion, forecast that the state will see rapid development and good rains. He also forecast that Kaleshwaram and other projects will be completed.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu attended the main official event held in Amaravati.

Speaking on the occasion, Naidu appealed to every citizen to drive away what he called "vultures" hovering over Andhra Pradesh. He said people of the state had to courage to overcome any odds. He warned that those trying to create problems for Andhra Pradesh would face the backlash.

The forecast by pandits at the celebrations held at the party offices had political overtones. 

At the opposition Congress party's office in Telangana, the pandit predicted that the state may witness political instability. He also
forecast less than normal rainfall.

Veda Pandits of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), Yadadri and Bhadradri temples bestowed 'Chaturveda Asheervachanam' on Governor of both the states, E.S.L. Narasimhan and his wife Vimala Narasimhan at Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad.

The leaders wished for peace and prosperity for the Telugu-speaking people living across the world. The Governor, Chief Ministers, Leaders of Opposition and eminent personalities greeted the people.

However, the celebrations were held on low-key due to the model code of conduct.

The political parties also paused their campaign during morning hours in view of the festival.

Elections to all 42 Lok Sabha seats in the two states and 175-member Andhra Pradesh Assembly are scheduled on April 11.

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