Disfavouring Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy's plan to have "three capitals" for Andhra Pradesh, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday said that the administration should remain centralised while development should be decentralised.
The state Secretariat, High Court and Legislature should all be in one place, the Vice-President asserted, adding it was for the state government to decide where it should be.
"I am telling this with my 42 years of (political) experience. Don't see this from a political or controversial viewpoint," Venkaiah Naidu said, in an informal chat with media at his family-run Swarna Bharat Trust at Atukuru near Vijayawada.
Last week, the Chief Minister hinted that the state could have three capitals, like in South Africa, with the executive capital in Visakhapatnam, legislative capital in Amaravati and judiciary capital in Kurnool.
Three days later, a committee of experts appointed by the state government too came out with recommendations on similar lines, suggesting that the "capital functions" could be distributed among the various regions of the state.
This triggered protests, particularly in the Amaravati region, with farmers who gave away over 33,000 acres of their fertile agricultural lands for building the capital city, opposing the state government's move.
The farmers met the Vice-President on Tuesday evening and pleaded with him to see that the capital is not relocated.
Venkaiah Naidu, in his chat with reporters, recalled that he always stood for decentralized development.
"After the state bifurcation, when I was the Union Minister, I saw to it that various national institutions were established in different districts of the state.
That's how development should be decentralised. But my firm opinion is that all administrative functions should be in one place so that it becomes easier," he noted.
To another query, he said, "If the Centre asks me, I will express the same view."
On another issue that has also raked up a controversy in AP in recent days, the Vice-President stressed that primary education should be in the mother tongue only.
"My opinion on primacy of the mother tongue remains firm. Telugu should be the medium of instruction in all government schools at the primary level. Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been emphasizing on the importance of mother tongue," Venkaiah Naidu pointed out.
The YSRCP government planned to do away with Telugu medium of instruction in all schools for classes 1 to 6 from the next academic year by introducing English medium.
It planned to scale it up gradually over the subsequent four years up to Class 10. There has been a vociferous demand from various quarters that English medium be introduced only as a parallel to Telugu medium.
The issue is now pending in the High Court.