Capital Confusion: What do the people need as their capital?
Andhra Pradesh, since May 2019, has been in a confused state. While the majority voted for Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy as their Chief Minister and sidetracked the Telugu Desam Party’s governance with a clear mandate for the YSRCP, they are now seeing a misgovernance in the state. Unfortunately, progressive policies and politics are no longer a narrative in Andhra.
It all started with the three capitals announced in 2019 by the Jagan government which said that Kurnool, Amaravati and Visakhapatnam will be the judicial, legislative and executive capitals of the state, respectively. Then in November 2021, Jagan himself announced that Andhra will have only “Amaravati” as its capital. However, recently, Chief Minister Jagan announced that Visakhapatnam will soon be the new capital and the “only capital” and that he too will shift to the coastal region soon.
With buzz about the Global Investment Summit now doing rounds in the media, AP finance minister Bugganna Rajendranath has again reiterated that Visakhapatnam will be the state’s capital. With such back and forth statements from the government, the larger segment that remains confused are the state’s citizens. On one side, there are cases from Amaravati farmers in the Supreme Court which are up for hearing and on the other hand, the government is now seeking a special leave petition to postpone these hearings in the apex court.
If one looks at this geographically, Amaravati as the capital remains at the central point where people from Rayalaseema and the coastal belt of Srikakulam can travel easily. However, if Vizag is made the capital, for people in Rayalaseema, Visakhapatnam district is literally another end of the state. This not just creates hassle to get government work done but also leaves them travelling too long even for minor works. Even Justice B.N. Sri Krishna Committee report on Capital Location, before bifurcation, had a majority of people voting for Amaravati as the Capital due to its central location to the state.
Given that the government itself is creating legal hurdles for Amaravati farmers, will this tussle for capital eventually become one between the government and its citizens? Which city is the choice of people’s capital? Who will decide the fate of AP’s capital and what will it finally be, considering so many complications? This is something the people need to think hard and vote carefully in the next 2024 assembly elections for the state.
TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.