It was earlier this week, that the Centre released a map of India, after the abrogation of Article 370. The map triggered a row, as Amaravati, the 'capital' of Andhra Pradesh was missing from it.
The map also led to further speculation on whether Amaravati was indeed the capital of Andhra Pradesh. TNM spoke to two senior bureaucrats who worked closely with the previous Chandrababu Naidu government. Both confirmed that despite Naidu's grand announcements for Amaravati, the capital was never notified.
During TDP's tenure, several Government Orders (GOs) were issued defining the area under the capital region and also constituting the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA). One bureaucrat said that the gazette notification specifying the capital was not issued partly because of oversight.
"Somewhere, someone had forgotten that Amaravati had to be notified as a capital and its boundaries had to be defined," the senior bureaucrat who served in the administration after bifurcation told TNM.
"Given the context of the Reorganisation Act, there was a need to clearly define Amaravati. Someone should have thought about this, circulated a file and finished the official formalities to notify it as the capital. Now the choice of capital is in the hands of the present state government," he said.
According to the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, Hyderabad was to be the administrative capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh until 2024. Another senior bureaucrat who also worked closely with the TDP government agreed that the lack of a notification was a 'significant miss' but however maintained that this had been a political decision.
"Notifying Amaravati would have meant relinquishing rights on Hyderabad, which would otherwise have continued till 2024. The government was ambivalent on it as it was not ready to let go of Hyderabad completely. The then Chief Minister took the decision to only notify the Amaravati Capital Region Development Authority," he said.
The bureaucrat added that the former Chief Minister was riding on two horses by not publishing the gazette and also not notifying the Home Ministry as mandated.
Naidu inspecting a proposed model of Amaravati during his tenure
TDP and YSRCP spar
Though Amaravati is the defacto capital, but with TDP failing to issue an official gazette notification, the legal capital of Andhra Pradesh is still up for debate.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Minister for Municipal Administration Botcha Satyanarana blamed N Chandrababu Naidu for Andhra Pradesh being depicted without a capital city in the map published by the Survey of India.
"No Gazette notification was issued during his five-year term which was wasted on unproductive things," Botsa said.
The TDP, however claims that it is a technical issue. The party points out that the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Bill was also passed in the Assembly in December 2014, on the capital.
"There is sanctity to the capital. The House has passed a Bill and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had come down to Amaravati to lay its foundation stone. How can the YSRCP dismiss it? If Amaravati is not the capital, then the YSRCP has to explain why its government is functioning from there," Anagani Satya Prasad, an MLA from the TDP told TNM
After the YSRCP stormed into power in May this year, it halted all ongoing construction projects in Amaravati, alleging that Naidu allegedly resorted to insider trading and indulged in corruption, during capital construction.
A five-member committee headed by retired IAS officer G. Nageswara Rao has now been tasked with deciding Amaravati's fate as the capital. It has asked for opinions and suggestions from citizens of the state until November 12.