This should be a strong indictment of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s self-trumpeted management skills.

They also inspected the ghats and enquired the pilgrims about the facilities provided in the ghats.

In view of the heavy flow of pilgrims expected during the Pushkaram, the Kotilingala ghat -said to be one of the longest bathing ghats in the country with a length of 1,128 metres – has been reconstructed at a cost of Rs 14 crores, the minister said.

Since the stampede, the Chief Minister has remained in the area to supervise arrangements for the 12-day festival which is drawing lakhs of devotees.

“The incident happened as the first set of worshippers was coming out of the river after taking a dip and then got in the way of others who wanted to be in the water at an auspicious time”, said senior police officer A. Srinivasan Rao to news agency AFP.

On the occasion of the ongoing Godavari Pushkaram, the Centre for Environment, Rajahmundry, has appealed to the devotees and pilgrims taking bath in the great river and performing rituals to keep it clean and pollution-free. “My condolences to the families of the deceased & prayers with the injured”.

“The publicity mongering of the chief minister has taken the lives of over 32 people and the collector in his report to the Human Rights Commission has clearly mentioned that the restive crowd could not be managed as the main gate was closed for over two hours and they were let in at once”, Botsa said.

It was at this ghat that a stampede broke out on Tuesday, minutes after Naidu along with his family members, his cabinet colleagues and VIPs took a holy dip to formally launch “maha pushkaralu” – defacto kumbh mela.

Giving information on pilgrims, he said that on Tuesday, around 24 lakh people visited various ghats in East and West Godavari districts, out of which 10 lakh were in Rajahmundry alone. Sorry to hear the sad incident of stampede at Maha Pushkaram.

The festival that is held once every 12 years celebrates rivers and draws large crowds in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh states.