Angry farmers threw stone at YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) MLA Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy’s car on Tuesday in Andhra Pradesh (AP) when he was passing by a part of the national highway (NH)-16 which was blocked by farmers who were protesting against the state government’s plan to decentralize AP’s capital between Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.
The farmers were staging a protest based on a call given by the Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi, a committee formed by various stakeholders from Amavarati, to protest and block the highway on Tuesday. According to Ramakrishna Reddy, the incident took place around 12:30 pm near Chinna Kakaki village (in Mangalgiri, Guntur district) while he was travelling towards Vijayawada on the service road, after which around 50 people attacked his car.
“My gunmen were beaten up by the mob," Ramakrishna Reddy claimed in a statement on Tuesday. The YSRCP MLA also alleged that the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu had instigated the attack. A senior leader from the TDP, however, alleged that the YSRCP MLA’s security personnel had assaulted who came to meet Ramakrishna Reddy.
“The MLA had come into the service road near the blockade (by the agitating farmers). A farmer had then come near his car and was talking to him, when Ramakrishna Reddy’s gun man pushed the villager. It angered other people who were protesting nearby and they rained stones at his car," said the TDP leader, who did not want to be named.
The protests against the AP government are likely to continue in the coming days, although the YSRCP-led government has still not formally announced that it is going to decentralize AP capital. The controversy surrounding Andhra Pradesh’s new capital has taken centre stage after the Expert committee recommended in December last year that Visakhapatnam should be made the executive capital, Kurnool in the Rayalaseema region the legal capital with the high court located there, and Amaravati the legislative capital with the governor’s office and the Assembly.
Following that, the Andhra Pradesh government also set up a “high-power committee" to examine the recommendations of the G.N. Rao-led panel after the state cabinet, led by the chief minister, deferred taking a decision on the relocation of the capital as farmers in Amaravati have been up in arms against the decentralization. Farmers in Amaravati have been up in arms mainly because the previous government, led by Naidu, had pooled in 33,000 acres of farm land from hundreds of them to develop Amaravati.