Hyderabad, March 31 (IANS) Evangelist Anil Kumar has started a political row by allegedly campaigning for his father-in-law and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy during religious gatherings.
Police said Anil Kumar has been accused of appealing to people at religious meets to pray for the victory of YSR and his ruling Congress party, an alleged violation of the model code of conduct.
Even as the election authorities were going through the tapes of his speeches, the seizure of a huge sum of money from some pastors attending his meeting in Karimnagar town Tuesday night has given a new twist to the row.
Police said some Bharatiya Janata Praty (BJP) activists thrashed the pastors staying at a lodge and seized over Rs.1 million from them. They alleged that the money was brought for distribution among voters. A case has been registered and investigations are underway.
'I request all of you to pray for the victory of my father-in-law,' Anil Kumar was quoted as saying at a meeting of pastors in Karimnagar district by Eenadu newspaper.
Addressing the Christian religious leaders from Adilabad and Karimnagar districts, he sought God's blessings for his father-in-law, who is seeking another term as the chief minister. The local election officials recorded the entire proceedings and sent the tape to Karimnagar district returning officer Dayanand.
After analysing the tapes, the official will send his report to the chief electoral officer of the state. Authorities said they have received similar complaints from other parts of the state where Anil Kumar held congregations.
YSR's son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, an industrialist, is making his political debut by contesting from the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat.
Anil Kumar, who is the husband of YSR's only daughter Sharmila, held a massive congregation there in December last year. The opposition parties had then questioned the source of funding for the grand Christmas celebrations.
The evangelist had told the congregation that he had experienced many miraculous changes in his own life after he adopted Christianity a decade ago.
Opposition parties said YSR, who had converted to Christianity himself, had been promoting his son-in-law to counter international evangelist K.A. Paul, who made sensational allegations against him.
Paul, founder of Gospel to Unreached Millions and Global Peace Initiative, had last year alleged that the chief minister was denying funds to his charity organisations as he had refused to provide money to the Congress party for the 2004 elections.
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