Tension is brewing in the Amaravati region in Andhra Pradesh as those protesting for the city to remain as the state's capital have decided to attempt to 'gherao' (surround) the Assembly ahead of the session on January 20.
The 'Chalo Assembly' protest has been called by farmers in the region and opposition parties, led by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Naidu, who led a rally in Eluru and other parts of West Godavari district, along with members of Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi (Committee for the protection of Amaravati), asked people to come out in large numbers and storm the premises of the Assembly in Velagapudi.
The protesters are up in arms against a proposal by Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy's government to decentralise the capital with an executive one in Visakhapatnam, a legislative capital in Amaravati and a judicial capital in Kurnool.
To prevent any untoward incidents, security has been beefed up greatly, with police personnel deployed at Velagapudi, Mandadam, Thullur, Mangalagiri and other parts of the 29 villages, which are part of Amaravati.
The police have said that no permission has been granted for a protest on January 20, with South Coastal Zone Guntur Range Inspector General Vineet Brijlal issuing a press release, stating that Section 144 of the CrPC and Section 30 of the Police Act was in place, which would ban a gathering of five or more people.
Authorities are also preparing an alternate route for legislators, as they anticipate road blockades by protesters. According to reports, officials of the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) are restoring an abandoned road near Krishnayapalem village, which was laid earlier for VIP movement but was left unused since.
Meanwhile, the state cabinet is also scheduled to meet on Monday ahead of the Assembly session.
A high-powered committee (HPC) of ministers and bureaucrats met with Jagan on Friday and discussed how to go ahead with the government's plan.
The HPC briefed the Chief Minister on its observations so far on the reports of the six-member expert committee and the Boston Consulting Group on the capital issue. The HPC has so far held three meetings and deliberated on the recommendations of the expert committee and the BCG.
The HPC report will then be placed in the Legislature on Monday for discussion, following which the final decision on the state capital issue will be announced.