YSR leaves for pilgrimage to Israel

May 27th, 2009 - 11:34 am ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, May 27 (IANS) Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who took charge as Andhra Pradesh chief minister for the second consecutive term last week, Wednesday left for a pilgrimage to Israel along with his family members.
YSR, who became the first Congress chief minister to retain power in three decades, will visit Bethlehem and other holy places for Christians during the four-day visit. He will return to Hyderabad May 31.

YSR, a Christian by faith, is accompanied by his wife Vijayalakshmi, his son and daughter and their family members.

His son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kadapa in the just-concluded polls while his son-in-law Anil Kumar is an evangelist.

The chief minister will offer thanks-giving prayers at the holy places for the victory of the Congress party, which won 156 seats in the 294-member state assembly and 33 out of 42 Lok Sabha seats.

This is YSR’s second pilgrimage to Israel. He first visited Bethlehem after coming to power in the state in 2004.

The chief minister and his family members were to leave for Israel Tuesday but their pilgrimage was deferred by a day. He left for Israel a day after distributing portfolios among the 35-member cabinet, which was sworn in Monday.

YSR had last year introduced a scheme for subsidized pilgrimage to Christians on the lines of the Haj pilgrimage. The state government offers a subsidy of Rs.20,000 for each pilgrim.

The state minorities finance corporation also conducts a week-long tour to Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nazareth, Jordan River, Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee and other important places connected with the life of Jesus Christ.

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