India

India minister's lavish temple offering causes anger

This handout picture released by the Public Relation Department of the Government of Telangana and taken on February 22, 2017, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (centre L) with family members and supporters carrying lavish offerings for a temple in Tirumala. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption K Chandrashekhar Rao, centre, made the offerings on Wednesday

Indian social media users are criticising the chief minister of southern Telangana state for using $750,000 (£610,790) of public funds to offer gold at a famous temple.

K Chandrashekhar Rao on Wednesday offered gold to "thank the gods" for the success of his decade-long campaign to create India's newest state in 2014.

But Twitter users said the extravagant offering "made no sense".

Mr Rao faced similar criticism in 2016 when his new home cost taxpayers $7.3m.

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Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official told the AFP news agency that the offering was "from the government of Telangana and its people".

But Twitter users said Mr Rao, popularly known as KCR, could have used the money on public welfare schemes instead.

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Mr Rao caused similar outrage after he moved into a palatial new home last year.

The house, spread over 9,000 sq m (100,000 sq ft), has bulletproof bathrooms, an auditorium which seats 250 people and a meeting hall that accommodates 500.

Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh state in 2014 after prolonged protests by its residents, who felt the region had long been neglected.

With a population of more than 35 million, it comprises 10 former districts of Andhra Pradesh and the city of Hyderabad.