Seemandhra leaders now spar over capital
After unsuccessfully trying to stall bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, leaders from Seemandhra are now fighting for new capital for successor state.
As the formation of Telangana state has become a reality with Hyderabad as common capital of the two states for 10 years, the leaders from Seemandhra (Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra) have turned their attention to new capital of successor state of Andhra Pradesh.
The bifurcation bill passed in Parliament last week provides that Hyderabad will be the common capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for a period not exceeding 10 years
It stipulates that central government will constitute an expert committee to study various alternatives regarding the new capital for the successor state of Andhra Pradesh and make appropriate recommendations in a period not exceeding 45 days from the date of enactment.
However, Jairam Ramesh, who was one of the members of Group of Ministers on Telangana, said the committee would be given six months to hold consultations and make suggestions for establishment of the new capital.
Leaders from south coastal and north coastal Andhra want the new capital in their regions while those from Rayalaseema are making a strong pitch for Kurnool, which served as capital of Andhra State till 1956 when Telangana was merged to form Andhra Pradesh and the capital was shifted to Hyderabad.
Leaders from Rayalaseema have gone to the extent of threatening that if Kurnool is not made the capital, a movement for separate statehood to the region would be launched.
Rayalaseema Parirakshana Samithi (RPS) leader Byreddy Rajasekhara Reddy Monday launched two-day fast in Kurnool to the demand that it should be made the capital.
Minister of State for Railways Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy and state minister T. G. Venkatesh, who are from Kurnool district, are making a strong bid for Kurnool as the new capital.
"Kurnool should be the new capital because Rayalaseema made the sacrifice in 1956 for a united state of Telugus," said Venkatesh.
Chinta Mohan, MP from Tirupati, however wants the temple town to be the new capital. Tirupati is located in Chittoor district, one of the four districts of backward Rayalaseema region.
Leaders of more prosperous south coastal Andhra and the backward north coastal Andhra are pitching for their regions.
Union Tribal Welfare Minister Kishore Chandra Deo was the first to raise the demand that coastal city of Visakhapatnam be declared the capital. Several Congress leaders who come from north coastal region are backing the claim.
They argue that Visakhapatnam as the second most developed city after Hyderabad is most suitable to be the capital. They hope this would also spur development in the region, comprising three districts of Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam.
The south coastal region, comprising six districts, is pitching for Vijayawada as the new capital.
Union Minister of State for Petroleum Pannabaka Lakshmi has even claimed that the central government was preparing to develop the capital between Vijayawada and Guntur cities. She believes Vijayawada-Guntur had all ingredients for a capital city, and pointed out that it is also centrally located in Seemandhra.
Some leaders from south coastal region are also suggesting Ongole town in Prakasam district as the new capital. Vijayawada-Guntur or Ongole will be at equal distance from both Rayalaseema and north coastal Andhra.
(Posted on 24-02-2014)