Twenty seven pilgrims, 23 of them women, died in a stampede today on the banks of the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh on the first day of a major religious festival Godavari Pushkaram.
    
"The Saraswathi ghat was reserved for VIPs but Chandrababu Naidu has opted to offer puja at the main Pushkar ghat and it was blocked for two-and-a-half hours for the devotees," the Leader of Opposition alleged here.
    
"When the barricades were removed, there was sudden surge as the devotees were waiting for long," he said.
    
He said there was no need for Chandrababu Naidu to be at the Pushkar ghat, which is meant for general public, as separate arrangements were made at the Saraswathi ghat for the VIPs.
    
"For the sake of publicity or whatever, he opted to offer puja at the main ghat which is meant for general public," Reddy claimed.
    
With Chief Minister at the main ghat, officials became over cautious and blocked all the ways as devotees, who came from distant places, started to became restless, he claimed.
    
Once the barricades were opened, the devotees rushed in which resulted in a stampede, Reddy said.
    
"The ordering of a judicial inquiry is just an eye wash. You cannot bring the visiting devotees as witnesses. Chief Minister should own responsibility and quit," he said.

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