17th December 2019 has been an important day in Andhra Pradesh’s history. It was the day Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S Jaganmohan Reddy announced his controversial decision to implement a three-capital setup in Andhra Pradesh in the state assembly. Today, not only it marks the first anniversary of the controversial decision on a three-capital setup but also marks the yearlong massive protests against the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act which allows the provision for the three-capital setup in the state. The mass scale protests now collectively called as ‘Amaravati Protest’ has been one of the most spirited and united protest movements that have happened in India.
Amaravati protest continues to have collective participation from people from all walks; political personalities, writers, academicians, policymakers, and so on but it is the farmers who are the most integral part of this movement. Farmers from the districts of Guntur and Krishna districts have been the most affected communities by the controversial decision taken by the YSRCP led state government. The farmers had donated their 33,000 acres of fertile agricultural land to the government for the development of a new capital region; Amaravati considering that the industrial growth and long-term investment in the region would make their lands more valuable and guarantee comprehensive job opportunities for the younger generation in the state.
After the controversial decision, farmers in the state have come out and hit the streets in large numbers staging protests against the Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy and YSRCP led state government. Farmers have also staged multiple hunger strikes at various places in the state and for several days shops and establishments remained closed. As per the ground reports, more than 50 farmers have died due to the decision of three capital setup, that includes suicides. The cases of brutal police attacks were also reported during the protest even against the women that were eventually taken by the High Court and ordered the state bodies to not violate people’s right to protest.
The development of a new capital region of Amaravati was a brainchild of the Former Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party Chief N. Chandrababu Naidu. Amaravati was called as the emerging ‘People’s capital’ primarily due to its ideal geographical location and long-term visions attached to it to ensure a great level of economic growth and the creation of job opportunities in the state. From the initial wake of the decision on three capital plan, Telugu Desam Party has been there in the forefront against the decision on three capital plan and moving in absolute support with the struggles of farmers in the state.
It is high time that the party in power realises that the farmers are not a mere vote bank and actually feed people not just in Andhra Pradesh but with produce being exported to every corner of the planet, they feed people all over the world.