Friday, April 19, 2024

Ratna Column :Three-capital issue to be a plank for AP Assembly polls!

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Today Andhra Pradesh is perhaps the only state in the country that is functioning without its seat of administration, while the key political players viz. ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and principal opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) have differing views over the nature and location of the capital(s).

In view of the misconceptions among people over building the capital, many circles, including political ones, feel that the three-capital issue would become YSRCP’s plank for the coming Assembly elections.

As for the ruling party, the proposal for establishing three capitals in various regions of Andhra Pradesh may be given a new shape by the 2024 elections with a view to influencing the electorate.The three capitals proposed by the ruling party are: Executive (Visakhapatnam), Legislative (Amaravati), and Judicial (Kurnool) in north coastal Andhra, central Andhra, and Rayalaseema respectively. The government headed by YS Jaganmohan Reddy has begun taking steps to woo voters, though there is resentment over the rising prices of petro products, gas, power, public transport and several essential commodities.

Ironically many of these disgruntled people are beneficiaries of various welfare schemes being implemented by the YSRCP government.The Jagan government is complacent that the beneficiaries of various welfare schemes, covering 87% of the state’s population, are disposed favourably towards the present government.

The Chief Minister has been urging people to think only about the benefits of welfare schemes to one or more members of the families of disadvantaged sections.The practice of delivering community pensions to the beneficiaries on the first day of every month has drawn accolades from various quarters.These beneficiaries previously had to run around Mandal Revenue Officer/Tehsildar for their measly sums.The volunteers system has helped the state government in effectively disbursing the pension amount at the local level. The YSRCP government is therefore confident of getting a huge chunk of votes from this section of society.

Most of the roads are in a very bad shape in almost every revenue mandal. Leaders of the ruling party blame the erstwhile government headed by N. Chandrababu Naidu of TDP for the sorry state of affairs even in urban areas.

The sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities are a matter of grave concern for the public. For example, the cost of 14-kg LPG cylinder was Rs.330/- a decade ago – under the UPA regime. Now, it has increased nearly three-fold to Rs.1,150. People still remember the photograph that appeared in some newspapers showing BJP leader Smriti Irani holding an empty cylinder on her head to register protest against the rising rates of LPG. Today, she is mum. The Jagan government holds the Union government responsible for this hike. 

Some people recall that once Dr.YS Rajasekhara Reddy, faced with a similar situation, chose to cut the state’s tax component, thus bringing relief worth Rs.50/- to people.They expect Jagan to follow in the footsteps of his father.  

The Polavaram multi-purpose project, despite being the lifeline of Andhra Pradesh, is not moving on schedule.There is no definite time frame for its completion.Amidst all this, issues concerning the capital are bound to be highlighted during the upcoming Assembly elections. The AP High Court’s judgment came in favour of Amaravati as the one and only capital for AP. The YSRCP government has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.

The ruling party saw a good turnout at the rally organised at Kurnool recently in support of locating the judicial capital there.The ruling party has already got cancelled a rath yatra planned by Amaravati farmers who had given up their land for construction of the capital at Amaravati. The Amaravati farmers did not resume their Padayatra to the Arasavilli Sun temple at Srikakulam and there are no specific signs for resumption of their padayatra.

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had laid the foundation stone for building Amaravati as the capital of AP, some of aggrieved farmers had hoped that the PM would come to their rescue.

Andhra Pradesh has failed to utilize the provision in the bifurcation law for using Hyderabad as the joint capital for 10 years. Eight years of that time have passed. It remains to be seen how people deliver their verdict with the three-capital issue as the plank during the upcoming Assembly polls.

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