Hyderabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Andhra Pradesh will be open to supporting the creation of a separate Rayalaseema state (the region comprising Cudappah, Anantapur, Kurnool and Chittoor districts), if such a situation arises, said some senior BJP leaders.
Anger has been growing, since the bifurcation of the state in 2014, among the people who feel that all the development in the state is channelled towards the other nine districts that comprise the coastal Andhra region, said these BJP leaders.
The BJP’s move to support the creation of a separate Rayalaseema state is being seen by some as the party’s effort to tap into the resentment of people in Rayalaseema, according to a senior BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh who did not want to be identified. However, this should be seen in the context of the demand to set up the state’s high court in the region, as the upcoming capital Amaravati falls in coastal Andhra, the leader said. There was also a proposal to create a Rayala-Telangana state, during the bifurcation in 2014.
“We will support Rayalaseema’s separation if that is what public sentiment goes towards. People there are unhappy as there is centralization of power and development in the coastal Andhra region. The BJP has always supported the creation of smaller states," said the BJP leader.
The Andhra Pradesh government should declare Rayalaseema as the second capital, said state BJP spokesperson Vishnuvardhan Reddy. People of the region have been inconvenienced with the new capital coming up in Amaravati, which is close to Vijayawada, he said. “It was easier for the people to come to Hyderabad."
The move is expected to be a possibility given that the BJP is looking to make major inroads into Andhra Pradesh in the 2019 general and state elections, especially after its alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) broke earlier in March this year. TDP came out of the National Democratic Alliance stating that AP was put to “injustice" in the 2018 Union budget, and received less than expected funds.
The Rayalaseema region, which has 52 MLAs, includes the stronghold of the main opposition YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), whose chief Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy also hails from Cudappah district in the region. “When Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were bifurcated, Rayalaseema leaders were worried of losing Hyderabad as the capital. Their concern was that Rayalaseema would be left with nothing," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.
Reddy noted that the anger of being ignored has been in Rayalaseema from the last few decades, and that the BJP might be simply looking to gain politically into that sentiment. “It could also be a ploy to threaten Jagan in his stronghold, as the party knows it cannot do much in coastal Andhra," he added.