The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is likely to approach the Andhra Pradesh High Court next week to take legal action against the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government for changing the Amaravati capital city's development plans, by decentralizing the capital between Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool to distribute the executive, legislative and judiciary between three places.
“We are going to either approach the court ourselves, or else someone on your behalf will approach the High Court on Monday or later in the coming week," a senior TDP leader, who did not want to be quoted, told Mint. He added that the ruling YSRCP, led by chief minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, is looking at creating a strong voter-base for itself, which is why it wants to make Visakhapatnam the executive capital of AP.
On 21 December, the G. N. Rao-led expert committee formed (by the state government) to look into Andhra Pradesh’s development recommended to have Visakhapatnam as the executive capital, Kurnool (in Rayalaseema region) as the legal capital, where the High Court would be and Amaravati as the legislative capital (which would house the state assembly and governor’s office).
The recommendations are on the same lines of what chief minister Y. S. Jagan Reddy had said last week in the assembly during a seven-day session, and will completely undo everything that former chief minister and TDP supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu had planned for Amaravati, which was to be developed as a global city
The TDP leader said that his party will now take up a big agitation in the coming days with farmers from the 29 villages (in Amaravati) who gave up their lands for the new capital. “There is a lot of unrest in Amaravati, wherein several farmers gave up their lands and who were promised with other things in the new capital. Jagan’s party never had a strong base in Visakhapatnam, even though it swept the 2019 assembly and Lok Sabha polls," stated the TDP leader.
In the 2019 assembly and Lok Sabha elections in AP, the YSRCP won 22 (out of 25) parliamentary and 151 (out of 175) assembly constituencies, dealing the TDP one of its biggest losses it had ever received. If the recommendations of the G. N. Rao-led expert committee are implemented, it will completely turn around what Naidu had planned to develop in Amaravati. During his previous term (2014-19), he had planned for a Start-up area, and three grand structures for secretariat, assembly and High Court in Amaravati.
Naidu’s government had pooled in about 33,000 acres of farm lands in the capital region from farmers, promising them land in the capital apart from giving them an income every month to make up the loss of agricultural income they would incur.
“This development is on the lines of what the Siva Ramakrishnan-led committee had suggested when it was appointed by the Centre to identify a new capital for the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh. Building a new capital takes a long time, and cannot be done so quickly. For example, Hyderabad has a history of 400-plus years. Naidu’s plans to centralize everything also backfired majorly in the 2019 elections," said Prof. E. Venkatesu, a faculty member from the University of Hyderabad’s political science department.