Pitching for Vijayawada: It Boils Down to Business and Politics
HYDERABAD: Though Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu asserted that his party did not have any vested interest in deciding the capital at Vijayawada, Assembly lobbies on Thursday were abuzz with private talk on the issue of “who gained and who lost” in the wake of Naidu’s decision to locate the capital nearer to Vijayawada.
TDP leaders belonging to Rayalaseema suspect that a few prominent businessmen/industrialists, who had played a key role in “supporting” the TDP during the recent general polls, virtually forced Naidu to locate the capital at Vijayawada for their own benefit.
In fact, ever since the erstwhile AP State was bifurcated, political leaders of Andhra, belonging to both the TDP and the YSRC, acquired vast tracts of lands at some selective places in the State thinking that the new capital would come up at those places, preferred by their respective parties.
While the TDP leaders are said to have made heavy investments on lands in the Vijayawada-Guntur stretch, their YSRC counterparts reportedly bought vast tracts of lands in Prakasam district, particularly Donakonda area.
Incidentally, Krishna and Guntur districts are synonymous with the powerful Kamma community, which has been the backbone of the TDP right from its inception in 1982. On the other hand, Prakasam district, which is closer to Rayalaseema, is dominated by the other politically powerful community in AP politics - Reddys. Their loyalty to the YSRC is well known.
Much before polls, the YSRC leaders were openly saying that Donakonda in Prakasam district would be the new capital of reorganised AP, if their party came to power. Unfortunately, their dream of gaining power in the 2014 polls did not come true.
Meanwhile, ever since Naidu had taken oath as the Chief Minister of the truncated AP at a place nearer to Nagarjuna University on the Vijayawada-Guntur stretch, the talk that new capital would come up at this place gained momentum.
Some of Naidu’s ministerial colleagues and TDP leaders had been openly stating that the new capital would be located at Vijayawada only, with the other big city Guntur hardly 37 km away from it.
True to this, the AP Cabinet has finalised Vijayawada as the new capital of the State. However, while making the statement on the location of new capital in the Assembly on Thursday, Naidu has taken every care to come out with specific industrial and other developmental programmes, identified for each district beginning from North Coastal Andhra at one end to Kurnool at another end of the residuary State of AP. By doing so, the TDP leaders believe that Naidu has taken the sting out of YSRC’s plans to politicise the issue of locating new capital. At the same time he appears to have softened any feeling of being neglected among the people of Rayalaseema.
Rayalaseema Ministers Mighty Miffed
Though AP CM Naidu’s decision to locate the new capital of the State appears to have been endorsed by the State Cabinet unanimously, some of his colleagues from Rayalaseema are not happy over the choice of their boss. A senior Minister told Express that Naidu’s decision to locate the new capital near Vijayawada is not a right one on two counts. One, locating the capital near Vijayawada would turn the fertile lands in the Krishna delta region into concrete jungles and soon hit the economy of the State. Two, this decision would further make the people of Rayalaseema feel that the government has not paid any heed to their demand on the issue of locating the capital in their region.