Why Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy can't dump Amaravati as capital?

Hyderabad: The fact that the development of Amaravati, the capital city of Andhra Pradesh, would not be Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy's priority was clear from the day he assumed office as the state's new Chief Minister in May.

He called the land acquisition for developing the capital city a big scam and said his government would order a thorough probe.

Announcing a series of sops for various sections of the society to fulfill his poll promises over the last two-and-half months, Jagan Reddy nowhere mentioned Amaravati, not even at the diplomatic outreach event attended by diplomats and representatives of 30 countries last month.

In the budget for 2019-20, the government allocated a mere Rs 500 crore for Amaravati, throwing another clear indication that the state capital was not his priority.

This also triggered speculations that Jagan Reddy might altogether dump Amaravati as the state capital as it was the brainchild of Chandrababu Naidu. However, analysts have said that he might not be able to do this.

They believe that Jagan Reddy might go for a core city capital with basic infrastructure and structures for the administration. He might dump Naidu's grandiose plans to build a 'world-class' city with iconic structures.

"Amaravati is not high on his priorities but it is only a propaganda that he will dump it altogether," political analyst Telakapalli Ravi told IANS. "Jagan Mohan Reddy will complete basic buildings required for the capital and roads with no hype. He may go with a skeletal plan," he said.

Analysts believe that Jagan Reddy might not dump Amaravati as the state capital is functioning from there for four years and that any move to shift the capital will prove counter-productive for him.

"He can't drop the capital or shift it to some other place. He will build a low-key capital and not a global city as Chandrababu Naidu wanted," said Ravi.

Like Chandrababu Naidu, Jagan Reddy also comes from the backward and drought-prone Rayalaseema region but he fully realizes that the area near Vijayawada in south coastal Andhra is best suited for the capital from all angles including its central location.

"Amaravati has the strategic and geographic advantage of being located centrally in Andhra Pradesh. So, it might not be easy to shift the capital from the current location.

Any attempt to shift the capital will be opposed by a large section of people in the coastal districts," analyst P. Raghava Reddy told IANS.

By Mohammed Shafeeq