Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Jagan Mohan Reddy on the floor of the State Assembly laid a new proposal to build three capitals in the state. 17 December 2020 marks one year since this controversial decision of Jagan Reddy’s tenure. As per the proposal, the existing State capital Amaravati would just serve as the Legislative Capital, Visakhapatnam would be made the Executive Capital and Kurnool would serve as the Judicial Capital.
This proposal by Jagan Mohan Reddy has been touted as one of the most controversial decisions of the current YSRCP government. As an opposition leader, Jagan Reddy had supported the government in its endeavour of making Amaravati, the capital of newly bifurcated Andhra Pradesh. Ever since this proposal was rolled out, over 24,000 farmers belonging to 29 villages of Amaravati region triggered a series of protests. These farmers gave 34,000 acres of fertile land for the Amaravati project in hopes of getting a part of high-value land being returned to them.
With the three-capital proposal, the fate of the farmers who gave up their lands remains uncertain. The current YSRCP government that brands itself as a pro-farmer regime is not even paying heed to the plight of the farmers who have been protesting continuously for the past 365 days in the capital.
While the Chief Minister has remained silent and has not addressed the protestors, directly or indirectly his party members branded the agitating farmers as “paid artists”.
To add to the woes of the protesting farmers from Amaravati, the clever use of police machinery was done by those in power. From slamming fake cases against the protestors to use of brute force with lathi charge, the ill-treatment of farmers of Amaravati was noted by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Very recently, the State Police department landed in controversy for its act of handcuffing the farmers.
Since the day of farmer protests, Jagan Mohan Reddy has utilised government machinery to stop the protests but has failed due to the fighting spirit shown by the farmers of this region. The battle for a capital shows the emotional bond these farmers share with their land. Located on the banks of river Krishna, Amaravati was envisioned as a self-sustainable, self-financed, greenfield capital. With most projects already operational and nearing completion in Amaravati, the decision to divide authority and split capital resources has struck the citizens of AP as an irrational move.