Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday literally went around Amaravati seeking monetary donations from the public with a cloth in his hand to ‘save’ the new capital. The symbolic act was undertaken as part of his 'Save Amaravati' campaign in Andhra Pradesh (AP), which he has undertaken after the current YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government announced its intention to decentralise the state's capital between Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.
On Monday, continuing with his campaign, Naidu, with a green cloth in hand, went around the TDP office in Amaravati asking for donations. Many among the public who he met willingly gave money. Prior to this, Naidu’s wife Bhuvaneshwari had also donated her jewellery in a symbolic act as part of the ‘Save Amaravati’ campaign. The money will be handed over to the Amaravati joint action committee (JAC), said a senior TDP leader who did not want to be quoted.
The protests against the state government continued on Monday, just two days before the Sankranti (harvest) festival. Naidu will also break his tradition of going to Tirupati to seek Lord Venkateswara’s blessings at the Venkateswara temple, and will instead stay in Amaravati, informed the TDP leader. “In fact, Rs4 lakh was collected during the campaign at Rajahmundry and about Rs.3 lakh in Machlipatnam. It will be given to the JAC," informed the TDP leader.
The whole issue over Amaravati’s future has come under question ever since the state government-appointed Expert committee recommended last month to decentralise the capital by relocating the secretariat in Visakhapatnam (in north coastal Andhra), High Court in Kurnool (in the Rayalaseema area) and to have to the governor’s office and state assembly in Amaravati.
It was followed by the state government setting-up a “high-power committee" to examine the recommendations of the expert committee, after protests broke out against the decision. The recommendations, if implemented, will undo everything that Naidu had planned for Amaravati, which was to be developed as a global city.
Farmers in the Amaravati capital city region have been up in arms mainly because Naidu’s (previous AP) government had pooled in 33,000 acres of farm land from hundreds of them to develop Amaravati. They are opposed to the decentralisation as they gave up their farm lands and were promised lands in the capital post its development (apart from a monthly income of Rs.2,500 per acre, that they receive as compensation since they are not farming).
Attacking Naidu, YSRCP MLA Gopireddy Srinivasa Reddy said that the TDP supremo “took to alms as he wanted the TDP to survive", and questioned as to why Naidu did not “go begging" during the previous TDP-led state government between 2014-19.