Hours after Farmers Stage Protest, Naidu Says He Wanted to Develop Amaravati as People's Capital
Naidu challenged the YSRCP government to relocate the state capital from Amaravati, while state Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath said the "brazen corruption" of the previous regime would soon be exposed.
TDP supremo and former Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu at a press meet in Amaravati on Thursday. (News18)
Amaravati: Telugu Desam Party president and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s tour of Andhra Pradesh's capital city, Amaravati, on Thursday was marred by protests from farmers and also resulted in a fresh round of slugfest between the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and the main opposition party.
Naidu asked the government if it had the guts to relocate the state capital from Amaravati while state Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath hit back saying they would soon expose the "brazen corruption" of the previous dispensation in the capital construction.
Rajendranath lashed out at Naidu saying the latter was only interested in real-estate development than building the state capital city.
Naidu, who is the leader of opposition in the Assembly, conducted a day-long tour of Amaravati to "exert pressure" on the government to undertake the capital development works but was greeted with protests by farmers, allegedly YSRCP supporters, who blamed the former for betraying them in the name of capital city development.
The former chief minister prostrated on the land at Uddandarayunipalem, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid foundation stone for Amaravati in October 2015, and offered a prayer.
The farmers, on the other hand, accused the former chief minister of doing nothing in five years of his tenure for the development of Amaravati, despite thousands of them giving away their fertile agricultural land.
The TDP too mobilised a set of farmers in its support, ostensibly in a show of strength, who wanted the incumbent YSRCP government to complete Amaravati development as planned by Chandrababu Naidu.
A stone was hurled at Naidu’s bus, partly breaking a window, while footwear was also flung in the air. "Why was a police lathi used as a missile at my bus," Naidu questioned. Farmers put huge flex banners in black colour wanting to know from Naidu why he could not build one permanent structure in the capital in five years.
"You owe an apology for betraying us," they said. The TDP cadres also carried placards, saying "We want Amaravati built here."
While Rs 17 crore was spent on refurbishing the Chief Ministers residence, zero was spent on the capital city, the TDP alleged.
Talking to reporters at the end of his tour, Naidu recalled how he developed Hyderabad and built Cyberabad into a bustling IT hub. "I did not do that for my own sake. I did it for the state (then united AP). After the bifurcation, I wanted to build a world-class capital city and pooled 34,000 acres of land from the farmers for the purpose.
They (YSRCP) leaders are alleging that I planned Amaravati to benefit one particular caste. For which caste did I develop Hyderabad," he said, adding that he wanted Amaravati to be a "people’s capital" with a cosmopolitan flavor.
Investors were running away from Andhra Pradesh because of the attitude of the current government, he said.
Naidu said, “Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy is the biggest corrupted politician in the country. He has sent back companies from Singapore that has done wonders for itself and is considered a graft-free nation. They were trying to build our capital and he made them leave.
“Now his ministers are saying that Reddy is holding Cabinet meetings in this graveyard, called Amaravati. There is no need of funds for the capital as it would have been generated automatically once these lands were developed. We had created a corpus of Rs 2 lakh crore for on these lands. But the YSRCP government has killed all our ambitious plans for this place. I had already started work worth Rs 42,000 crore and I won’t allow that to stop till I am alive,” he said during a press conference at Mandadam village.
Hitting back, state Municipal minister Botsa Satyanarayana said more damage was done to the state in Naidu's five-year tenure than what the bifurcation had done.
"We have come to power only six months ago. What did he do in five years," Botsa said. The minister noted that any city should develop on its own.
"There is no need to build a big city taking huge loans. Moreover, development can happen only through decentralisation and not over concentration (in a particular place)," Rajendranath added.
Minister Kodali Nani said, “We will thankful to the farmers who welcomed Naidu with their footwear. Naidu has betrayed them by taking away their lands. For the last five years, he only made false promises.
Another minister Perni Nani said, “Naidu must leave his old-era politics. People have his given a proper reply. Though he continue to say the capital would be built at a cost of Rs 1 lakh crore, he could only manage to arrange loans worth Rs 5,000 crore. Previously, Naidu had pelted stones at NTR (NT Rama Rao) and now, he has been paid back by people.”
(With inputs from PTI)
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