Visakhapatnam: Capital issue takes a backseat as voters seek jobs, better infrastructure

Amidst cacophony of campaign promises and party rhetoric, opinion of Vizagites reflect dichotomy between YSRC’s ‘Vision Visakha’ and Oppn’s job promises
A view of Kurusura submarine
A view of Kurusura submarine

VISAKHAPATNAM : Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has once again declared Visakhapatnam’s potential elevation to the status of executive capital if his party, the YSRC, secures another term in office. With a pledge of Rs 1,05,000 crore investment over the next decade, his proposed ‘Vision Visakha’ aims to fortify the city’s infrastructure, industry, and sustainability.

However, Opposition parties, particularly the TDP in alliance with the BJP and JSP, have taken a contrasting stance. Their emphasis lies not on the capital debate but on the pressing needs of the people: development and job opportunities.

Amidst the cacophony of campaign promises and party rhetoric, one theme emerges as a focal point, the future trajectory of development, stirring both hope and scepticism among the electorate. The opinions among Vizag’s residents reflect this dichotomy.

Uday Venkatesh, a software engineer, expressed his disillusionment with the government’s track record on infrastructure development. He remarked, “The government has long promised to make Visakhapatnam the executive capital, yet little tangible development has occurred beyond constructing a camp office for the CM at Rushikonda. Any infrastructure improvements have been limited to select areas, like the beach road, neglecting other parts of the city. Road-widening projects only began this year. As a software engineer, I work from home and will soon relocate for office work. If the government prioritised attracting companies to Vizag, many professionals like me wouldn’t need to move elsewhere. Instead of shifting the capital, the government should focus on addressing people’s immediate needs.”

Similarly, physiotherapist KH Mani underscored the importance of holistic development, stating, “Instead of fixating on the capital debate, the government should prioritise comprehensive development across all sectors. Each region in the State has its strengths, be it agriculture, industries or IT. What people universally desire is job security, accessible healthcare, and quality education. While schemes like Aaryogyasri have benefited the public, not all hospitals are part of them, so the government could expand its coverage. Additionally, the ongoing construction of medical colleges should be completed, and efforts should focus on filling seats and hiring staff. My vote won’t be based solely on the capital issue but will consider these broader developmental factors.”

Stating that his focus lies on concrete plans for economic growth, GSS Satish, an IT employee aspiring for job opportunities in Visakhapatnam, said, “I am seeking job opportunities in Vizag. Can designating Visakhapatnam as the executive capital attract jobs for locals? If so, we need the government to outline how it plans to do so. Personally, I will not base my vote solely on the capital issue because everyone has different needs. Instead, I will consider the promises made by political parties in their manifestos, which have a more significant impact. While having a capital is crucial, it won’t solely determine the election outcome.”

Yet, amidst these discussions of policy and progress, it is the voice of marginalised people that resonates the loudest. Shanti, a humble vegetable vendor, reflects on her personal experiences: “I have personally benefited from government schemes like Amma Vodi and Raithu Barosa. When our crops were damaged during last year’s cyclone, my family and I were fairly compensated. Regardless of whether the capital is Amaravati or Visakhapatnam, it will not make a difference for people like us. Our lives won’t be impacted either way. I will vote for the YSRC because I’ve directly benefited from the schemes they’ve implemented,” she expressed.

As the countdown to the elections on May 13 intensifies, candidates are in a frantic race to secure the Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha seat. Mathukumilli Sribharat of the TDP focuses his campaign on promising job opportunities for the youth, while Botcha Jhansi of the YSRC advocates for the capital shift, emphasising development, albeit with vague specifics from both camps.

Amidst the flurry of campaign promises, the authentic voices of the people echo their genuine aspirations and concerns. While the capital debate simmers in the background, the electorate’s primary focus remains on tangible progress and inclusive development. Issues such as infrastructure, basic needs, industry, and job creation take precedence over the capital relocation discussion. Will promises of jobs or development of Vizag as capital sway the voters’ decisions? Only time will tell.

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The New Indian Express