TDP Leaders Under House Arrest Ahead of Andhra Cabinet Meet to Finalise Proposal for Three Capitals
Condemning the house arrests, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress Party government in the state will pay for its "unilateral, dictatorial and suppressive attitude".
Farmers during a protest against the state government's three-capital formula.
New Delhi: Ahead of a scheduled cabinet meeting of the Andhra Pradesh government, two prominent leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were put under house arrest on Thursday. The move comes ahead of a meeting on Friday where Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy is expected to approve the proposed three-capital formula.
The situation in the state has been tense following Reddy's announcement for the creation of three capitals — executive capital at Vishakhapatnam, legislative capital at Amaravati, and judicial capital at Kurnool.
In view of the legal, technical and procedural issues involved, there is speculation the government may desist from announcing a new capital but could take a decision on shifting the Secretariat to Visakhapatnam in the first place, said authoritative sources.
The cabinet will deliberate on the recommendations of the experts' committee and take a decision on the location of the state capital, according to Municipal Administration Minister Botsa Satyanarayana.
The experts' committee, in its report to the chief minister last week, suggested distribution of capital functions with the Secretariat at one place, the High Court in another, and the Legislature in a third location.
According to a report in the 'Hindustan Times', MP Kesineni Srinivas (Nani) and MLC Buddha Venkanna were on their way to Amaravati to participate in a 'Maha Dharna' by farmers against the decision when they were picked up. Several other leaders were detained over the issue as well.
Nani earlier told reporters that he would seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in the matter.
Condemning the house arrests, TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu said the Reddy-led YSR Congress Party government will pay for its "unilateral, dictatorial and suppressive attitude".
"It is undemocratic to prevent the public representatives from going to a meeting of the Amaravati Parirakshana Samiti Joint Action Committee. The YSRCP government is creating panic among the people of 29 villages. Thousands of police personnel are deployed and are made police 'raj'. They made the capital, which ran smoothly for the past five years, controversial," Naidu said in a statement.
TDP politburo member and Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Yanamalla Ramakrishnudu in a statement criticised the government for the crackdown on those fighting for retention of Amaravati as the capital and said there was "an undeclared emergency" in the area.
Ahead of the meeting, unprecedented security arrangements have been made in Amaravati region, particularly in Mandadam village and the roads leading to the Secretariat at Velagapudi in view of the ongoing protests by farmers against the move to shift the capital to port city Visakhapatnam.
Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC and Section 30 of the Police Act are already in place and villagers along the road leading to the Secretariat have been asked not to allow strangers or outsiders into their houses.
Based on intelligence inputs, the government reportedly toyed with the idea of changing the venue of the cabinet meeting to the chief minister's camp residence at Tadepalli, far away from the Secretariat, but later on Thursday evening official sources said the crucial meet will be held in the Secretariat.
The ruling YSR Congress MLAs from Krishna and Guntur districts held a meeting at the chief minister's residence to firm up the party's stand on the capital issue.
"There is no way the government can spend Rs 1 lakh crore on the development of one city. Our objective is to develop all the 13 districts of the state equally, besides implementing welfare programmes," the MLAs said after the meeting.
The Municipal Administration Minister, who attended the meeting with the legislators, said farmers who gave up their land for the development of Amaravati need not worry as the government was committed to honouring all the promises made to them. He said central funds would be secured to develop the land given by farmers.
Several protests against TDP move
The Amaravati Parirakshana Samiti Joint Action Committee was formed by farmers in the capital regions who are protesting against the government's decision to decentralise administration. Members of the JAC staged a dharna from Mandadam village, where Modi had laid the foundation stone for the capital city in 2015.
The committee has submitted a memorandum to state home minister M Sucharita urging the government to retain Amaravati as the executive capital.
On Monday, hundreds of farmers in the Amaravati region came out on the streets in Vishakhpanam demanding that the state capital not be shifted. The protesters, denouncing the YSR Congress government's move, staged a dharna in front of Endowments Minister V Srinivasa Rao's residence in Vijayawada.
The farmers have also written to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking their intervention. “If the state government now comes up with two more capitals and shifts base to Vishakhapatnam and Kurnool, we will suffer huge losses,” one of the letters read.
Lawyers also boycotted courts and staged a protest at the Bar Association while no minister turned up at the AP Secretariat.
Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu has earlier stressed on the need for decentralised development to stem distress migration in the state.
(With inputs from agencies)
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