Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N Chandrababu Naidu has lashed out at the YSRCP government for its proposal to decentralise the state capital.
An expert committee, constituted by the YSRCP government and headed by GN Rao, had announced earlier this month that it had recommended a legislative capital in Amaravati, an executive capital in Visakhapatnam and a judicial capital in Kurnool.
The Andhra Pradesh cabinet on Friday deferred the decision to announce the proposed decentralisation of the state's capital, after a two-hour-long meeting.
Criticising Jagan while addressing reporters in Amaravati, Naidu said, “Who gave you the right to change the capital? Has any such thing taken place since the Independence of India?”
The TDP chief also stated that the decision to develop Amaravati as the capital was scientific in nature and it was proposed as it was equidistant from all the districts.
“Decentralised development is what is needed and we have done it in different regions, including in Visakhapatnam. But you have ruined everything in the last seven months," Naidu said.
Mocking the ruling party for referring Amaravati as ‘graveyard’ and ‘desert’, Naidu said, “You have called Amaravati a graveyard and now you are taking cabinet decisions sitting in the same graveyard. Speaker calls it a desert and that is where cabinet meetings are taking place.”
On Monday, while addressing the media in New Delhi, Assembly Speaker Tammineni Sitaram had remarked that going to Amaravati is "like visiting a desert in Rajasthan". A few weeks ago, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister Botsa Satyanarayana compared Amaravati with a 'burial ground'.
He further accused Jagan of changing his stance on Amaravati as the state capital. “Earlier, you had agreed for Amaravati to be the capital as Vijayawada was centrally located. You also agreed that we had become a smaller state after bifurcation. Now you have changed your stance and are talking about three capitals for the state,” Naidu said, addressing Jagan.
On Friday, Information and Public Relations (I&PR) Minister Perni Venkataramaiah said that another committee report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is due to be submitted in the first week of January 2020. The state cabinet has now decided to form a high-level committee to go through both reports, and take a final decision.
The capital region saw mild violence as the cabinet meeting was underway. Security was tightened in around 29 villages, as farmers had intensified their protest over the proposal to have three capitals.
Police sealed roads leading towards the State Secretariat at Velagapudi, where the Chief Minister was presiding over the cabinet meeting. Three policemen were injured when protesters pelted stones at them.
Hundreds of protesters came onto the roads despite prohibitory orders imposed under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).