Visakhapatnam: The row over proposed three capitals in Andhra Pradesh took a new turn on Saturday with a minister and some legislators of ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) from north coastal Andhra offering to quit in support of Visakhapatnam as the administrative capital.
Leaders of various political parties and non-political groups came together here to constitute a non-political Joint Action Committee (JAC) to support the YSRCP government’s move of three capitals.
The meeting elected the former vice-chancellor of Dr B. R. Amedkar University H. Lajapathi Rai as convenor.
The meeting was attended by minister Gudivada Amarnath, former minister Avanti Srinivas, YSRCP MLA Karnam Dharmasri, lawyers, journalists and intellectuals.
The meeting decided to organise a massive rally in Visakhapatnam in support of decentraliasation on October 15. Gudivada Amarnath said the rally will be taken out from Ambedkar statue in the city.
JAC leaders said awareness programmes will be organised for a week in all constituencies to educate people on the need to have three state capitals for decentralised development.
Dharmasri, who is also the government whip, came to the meeting with his resignation letter. The MLA from Chodavaram showed his resignation letter prepared in the Speaker format. In the letter addressed to the Speaker, he wrote that he was submitting his resignation in support of three capitals. “I am consciously submitting my resignation in support of the establishment of executive capital at Visakhapatnam,” reads the resignation letter.
Former minister Avanti Srinivas said he too was ready to resign for the sake of the region. The YSRCP leader challenged the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader from the region to quit.
The development came at a time when Maha Padyatra by Amaravati farmers demanding development of Amaravati as the only state capital is set to enter the region.
Farmers and other people from 29 villages of Amaravati region on September 12 launched Maha Padayatra 2.0 demanding development of Amaravati as the only state capital as directed by Andhra Pradesh High Court.
Organised by Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi (APS) and Joint Action Committee (JAC) of Amaravati farmers, the long march began from Venkatapalem coinciding with completion of 1,000 days of their protest against trifurcation of the state capital.
The Padyatra with the slogan aBuild Amaravati Save Andhra Pradesh’ is scheduled to conclude at Arasavalli in Srikakulam district on November 11 after passing through 16 districts and covering nearly 1,000 kms.
After coming to power in 2019, YSRCP had reversed the decision of the previous TDP government to develop Amaravati as the only state capital. It decided to develop three state capitals – Amaravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool.
Under the three capital formula of Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government, Visakhapatnam in north coastal Andhra will be developed as administrative capital, Kurnool in Rayalaseema will be turned into judicial capital while Amaravati in south coastal Andhra will be retained as legislative capital. The ruling party defended the move on the ground that this will ensure decentralisation of development.
Last year, the farmers undertook a 45-day long Padyatra from Amaravati to Tirupati. The march titled Nyayasthanam (High Court) to Devasthanam (Tirumala temple) had passed through Rayalaseema region.
The YSRCP leaders have been alleging that TDP is behind the padyatra to save the lands acquired illegally by its leaders in Amaravati region.
Speaking in the Assembly last month, Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had alleged that attempts were being made to provoke people of one region against the other in the name of Padyatra.