In a massive show of strength in support of three capitals for Andhra Pradesh, the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) organised a rally here on Saturday.
Braving rains, thousands of people from various parts of north coastal Andhra attended ‘Visakha Garjana’ which was addressed by ministers and other leaders of the ruling party and the Joint Action Committee (JAC) formed to fight for three capitals.
They called for development of three state capitals to ensure decentralisation of development and slammed the opposition parties for insisting on development of Amaravati as the only state capital.
Ministers, MPs, MLAs, MLCs, JAC leaders, intellectuals and people from various walks of life participated in the rally from Ambedkar Circle to YSR statue at Park Hotel. The participants were carrying placards in support of three capitals. There were also cultural performances highlighting the backwardness of north coastal Andhra.
Assembly speaker Tammineni Seetharam, ministers Botsa Satyanarayana, Dharmana Prasad Rao, Gudivada Amarnath, R. K. Roja, V. Rajini, TTD Chairman and YSRCP North Andhra coordinator Y.V. Subba Reddy were present on the occasion.
The speakers at the rally came down heavily on Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena Party (JSP) leader and actor Pawan Kalyan and alleged that they are against the development of north Andhra.
Roja, who is also an actor, targeted Pawan Kalyan. “Pawan Kalyan needs Visakhapatnam for shootings and cinema collections. He also needs Visakhapatnam to contest elections but he does not want the state capital here,” she said.
She alleged that Pawan Kalyan is supporting “paid artists”. She was referring to the participants in ongoing padyatra by Amaravati farmers. The minister called upon people of north Andhra to teach a lesson to the actor.
The ministers and YSRCP leaders questioned the opposition parties for opposing Visakhapatnam as the administrative capital.
They claimed that the YSRCP government wants development of all three regions and hence it mooted the idea of three capitals – Visakhapatnam as administrative capital, Kurnool as judicial capital and Amaravati as legislative capital.
The ministers alleged that TDP is behind the ongoing Padyatra in support of Amaravati as the state capital. They were referring to the ongoing Maha Padyatra by farmers of Amaravati.
Demanding that Amaravati be developed as the only state capital, farmers from the region last month launched Maha Padyatra from Amaravati. It is passing through coastal districts and is scheduled to conclude next month at Arasavalli in Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra. It will pass through 16 districts and cover nearly 1,000 km.
After coming to power in 2019, the YSRCP had reversed the decision of the previous TDP government to develop Amaravati as the only state capital and decided to develop three state capitals.
The ruling party defended the move on the ground that this will ensure decentralisation of development.
On petitions filed by farmers and others challenging the trifurcation of the capital, Andhra Pradesh High Court in March this year had directed the government to develop Amaravati as the capital and handover developed plots to farmers in lieu of the lands they surrendered.
The YSRCP leaders alleged that the padyatra by Amaravati farmers is an attempt by Chandrababu Naidu to protect his interests as he and his supporters had acquired vast lands in Amaravati.