Visakhapatnam will be the capital of Andhra Pradesh, and Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy will move there ‘in the coming months’, he announced today, apparently sticking to the three-capital plan – the other two being Kurnool and the existing capital Amaravati – despite the High Court ruling last year that it could not make law for it.
The case is pending before the Supreme Court on appeal from Mr Reddy’s YSRCP government.
Mr Reddy, who made the statement about Visakhapatnam while promoting an investment summit to be held there, has always favored the coastal city as the executive capital. He has also said in the past that he will work from there.
“Here I am, to invite you, to Visakhapatnam, which is going to be our capital in the days to come,” he said, announcing the world summit scheduled for March 3-4. He did not set a timetable, but added, “I will be moving to Visakhapatnam myself in the coming months.”
When Telangana was separated from Andhra Pradesh in 2014, the new state took Hyderabad as its capital.
The 2015 Andhra government, led by N Chandrababu Naidu of the TDP, operating from Hyderabad in the meantime, had declared that Amaravati in the Vijayawada-Guntu region on the banks of the Krishna River would become the new capital .
Then in 2020, the state planned to have three capitals – Visakhapatnam for the executive, Amaravati for the legislative and Kurnool for the judiciary.
This legislation was later withdrawn and Amaravati officially remained the capital.
Amaravati has been at the center of an alleged land scam, for which Mr Reddy’s YSRCP party has called for an investigation against former chief minister Mr Naidu.
Mr Reddy’s party alleges that some people with advance notice of the location of the new capital had bought land there to benefit from an impending boom. In a representation to the Center, the state government said more than 4,000 acres were purchased by these people in 2014.
But N Chandrababu Naidu, while denying such wrongdoings, had questioned why the land originally acquired from farmers to build a new capital was being sold by the YSRCP government. A few months ago, the Leader of the Opposition specifically criticized the decision by the AP Capital Region Development Authority to lease the residential towers, built for government employees, to private entities.
Favored as the capital by Chief Minister Jagan Reddy, the coastal city of Visakhapatnam – its name sometimes shortened to Vizag – is Andhra Pradesh’s largest and most populous city. After Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, it is the second largest city on the east coast of India.