New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lanka Dinakar on Wednesday (November 20) slammed Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy's government for trying to woo minority groups by providing financial assistance to Christians for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and other Biblical locations.

He also accused the Jaganmohan Reddy government of misusing public money and of practising inequality.

"BJP strongly condemns this illegitimate decision taken by the Andhra Pradesh government providing assistance for Jerusalem pilgrimage. Earlier, the aid was capped at Rs 20,000 then it went up to Rs 40,000, and now it has reached Rs 60,000. Why is such unproductive expenditure done by the state government?" he asked while speaking to reporters.

"Our Prime Minister has categorically said that people should be assisted irrespective of caste, religion, etc. Also, the slogan Sabka Sath-Sabka Vikas-Sabka Vishwas. We are requesting Reddy to maintain equality rather than woo few of them for vote bank politics," he added.

Earlier, the Andhra Pradesh government provided financial assistance to Christian pilgrims to travel to Jerusalem and other Biblical locations. A government order issued in this regard said pilgrims who have an annual income of up to Rs 3 lakh would receive financial assistance of Rs 60,000, which was increased from Rs 40,000.

The pilgrims who have an annual income of more than Rs 3 lakh will receive financial assistance of Rs 30,000, which was earlier Rs 20,000.

The financial assistance will be delivered by the Christian (Minorities) Financial Corporation.

It had also enhanced the tour period from eight days and seven nights to 10 days and nine nights for smooth conduct of the pilgrimage and also inclusion of four new places (Madaba Church of the Apostles, Virgin Mary Tomb, Solomon's Temple and Mount Moriah) in the list of places to be visited during the pilgrimage.