Andhra Capital Furore: Centre Has No Role in Jagan Govt's Amaravati Move, Says BJP MP

Hyderabad: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP GVL Narasimha Rao said the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government’s plan to set up three capitals in Andhra Pradesh does not have the Centre’s approval.

Late on Monday night, the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly passed the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020, that intends to give shape to the state government's plan to develop Visakhapatnam as the executive capital, Amaravati as the legislative capital and Kurnool as the judicial headquarters.

Rao told reporters in Delhi, “The decision to choose a capital is completely the purview of states. The Union government will not interfere in it. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had decided to develop Amaravati against the recommendations of the Siva Rama Krishna Committee.”

TDP MP Galla Jayadev was arrested early on Tuesday, in connection with a farmers' protest in Amaravati and remanded in judicial custody. A case under various non-bailable sections of IPC was registered against Jayadev and he was arrested after Monday midnight, police said.

Former chief minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu was also taken into custody along with several other party leaders for taking out a rally against the shifting of the capital from Amaravati. They were released after midnight.

Hitting out at TDP leaders for questioning the Centre’s role in the entire matter, Rao said, “Why are they are saying the Union government has to play a ‘Big Brother’ role? Is it to cover their faults? It is a constitutional process and the Centre has no role in it.”

Rao, however, said he could not find any reason behind the development of three capitals. “The government decided to shift the entire capital to Visakhapatnam. Only the legislative assembly now remains in Amaravati. After this, can Amaravati be still called a capital?”

“When Naidu was at the helm, we had requested that the high court be established in Rayalaseema, but out pleas were not paid heed to. We welcome the Reddy government’s plan to set up the judicial system in Kurnool, but oppose referring to the place as a capital,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.

Regarding the government’s allegations of irregularities and insider trading in land dealings in Amaravati, Rao said, “If there is any evidence, the authorities should immediately file cases… We demand the culprits be booked by Wednesday. If not, the government has to take responsibility for consequences. It seems leaders of the YSR Congress Party and TDP are only criticising each other in public and cooperating privately.”

State BJP president Kanna Laxmi Narayana said preparations are underway to launch a mass agitation over the capital issue. The stir would be jointly organised with Jana Sena, whose chief, actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan, recently joined hands with the BJP, Narayana added.

“The government is not giving any proper reason for shifting the capital and the chief minister is behaving like (Muhammad Bin) Tughlaq. They would have to pay for it.”

He said the TDP leaders had engaged real estate business in the name of developing Amaravati as a capital and the same is being done by the YSRCP leadership in Visakhapatnam.