Hundreds of farmers across the state launched a 45-day padayatra (foot march) called ‘Nyayasthanam to Devasthanam’ (from court to temple) on Monday, demanding that Amaravati be retained as the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
The Telugu Desam Party, Congress, CPI and other parties extended support to the farmers. Former Union Minister Renuka Chowdhury drove a tractor, as the farmers marched on, and extended solidarity with them.
For over 680 days now, farmers in the Amaravati region have been continuing an agitation opposing the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy government’s move to divide the capital into three – Visakhapatnam, Kurnool and Amaravati. They are also fighting a legal battle on the issue with PILs filed by many of them.
The farmers, who reportedly parted with over 33,000 acres of their fertile lands for the construction of divided AP’s new capital, have now undertaken the padayatra to Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, to press their demand for retaining Amaravati as the sole capital of the state.
The foot march will traverse through over 70 villages in Guntur, Prakasam, SPS Nellore and Chittoor districts before reaching temple-town Tirupati on December 17. This march by farmers is expected to have huge political implications on Andhra Pradesh’s political narrative and may change the course of its future.