Farmers, who have been protesting against the move to relocate the state capital Amaravati, have urged the Prime Minister to intervene, as opposition parties including the BJP hit the streets of Machilipatnam on Thursday 'seeking alms' and demanding that the YSRCP government drop its plan.
Farmers and common people dialled the Mann Ki Baat phone line and recorded an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prevent shifting of the state capital from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam.
They recalled that Modi had laid the foundation stone for building Amaravati and that the Centre has so far granted Rs 2,500 crore for the purpose.
Farmers, who have given their land for development of Amaravati as the state capital, have been on a protest for over 20 days, opposing the government's move to relocate it.
Hitting the streets of the coastal town of Machilipatnam former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and leaders belonging to other opposition parties 'sought alms' demanding that the ruling YSRCP drop its move to shift the state capital.
CPI state secretary K Ramakrishna and other leaders, under the aegis of Amaravati Parirakshana Samiti (committee for protection of Amaravati), accompanied the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief.
Naidu and leaders belonging to parties, including the BJP and Jana Sena, went to shopkeepers and passers-by and sought alms for their movement, demanding that Amaravati be continued as Andhra Pradesh's capital.
Women and girl students joined the Samiti leaders' rally in large numbers from Koneru Centre to the RTC Bus station in Machilipatnam, raising slogans in support of Amaravati.
The main demand was that the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government drop the move to shift the capital from Amaravati.
Naidu, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly, vowed to continue the fight till the government gave up its stand on the capital issue.
"So far 11 farmers who gave up their fertile agricultural lands for Amaravati died of heart attack, unable to digest that the capital is being shifted from the region," Naidu claimed.
At a press conference in Vijayawada, Jana Sena political affairs committee chairman and former Assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar alleged that the YSRCP government was terrorising citizens of the state through its "whimsical" decisions.
"Jagan Mohan Reddy has no right to continue as chief minister when he has no time or inclination to listen to the people's grievances. The YSRCP was seeking to create rift between people of different regions only to gain political mileage in the forthcoming elections to local bodies," Manohar said.
On Thursday, students and other sections took out a rally in Tenali in support of the farmers and staged a dharna demanding that Amaravati be retained as the capital.
In Kurnool, an all-party meeting was held opposing the plan to shift the capital and in Visakhapatnam too protests were organised by the TDP and other parties against the move to relocate the state capital.
Other cities like Kakinada and Rajamahendravaram also saw rallies and protests against relocation of the state capital.
In Mandadam, Velagapudi, Tulluru and other villages of the capital region, protests continued for the 23rd day with women conducting an open kitchen and cooking food for a community lunch.
Meanwhile, state municipal administration minister Botsa Satyanarayana told reporters that the second meeting of the High-Powered Committee (HPC) of ministers and bureaucrats would be held in Amaravati on Friday to further discuss the recommendations made by the experts committee and the Boston Consulting Group on the distributed capital functions.
The HPC held its first meeting here two days ago and favoured decentralisation of development as well as administration.
"We will honour all commitments made to farmers (who gave their lands). We have our own plans for the development of Amaravati region. If farmers have some other plans in mind, they can place them before us," the minister said.