Visakhapatnam will be Andhra Pradesh’s capital, and Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy will shift there “in the months to come”, he announced today, apparently sticking to the three-capital plan — other two being Kurnool and the existing capital Amaravati — despite the High Court having ruled last year that it can’t make a law for that.
The case is pending in the Supreme Court on an appeal by Mr Reddy’s YSRCP government.
Mr Reddy, who made the assertion about Visakhapatnam while marketing an investment summit to be held there, has consistently favoured the coastal city as the Executive Capital. He has said in the past too that he would 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 global summit scheduled for March 3 and 4. He did not set out a timeline, but added, “I myself will be shifting over to Visakhapatnam in the months to come.”
When Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, the new state got Hyderabad as its capital.
The Andhra government in 2015 led by TDP’s N Chandrababu Naidu, operating out of Hyderabad in the interim, had declared that Amaravati, in the Vijayawada-Guntu region on the banks of the river Krishna, would come up as the new capital.
Then in 2020, the state planned to have three capital cities — Visakhapatnam for the executive, Amaravati for the legislature, and Kurnool for the judiciary.
That legislation was later withdrawn and Amaravati formally remained the capital.
Amaravati has been at the centre of an alleged land scam, for which Mr Reddy’s party YSRCP has demanded a probe against the previous chief minister, Mr Naidu.
Mr Reddy’s party alleges that some people who were told in advance about the location of the new capital had bought land there to benefit from an imminent boom. In a representation to the Centre, the state government said over 4,000 acres were bought by such people in 2014.
But N Chandrababu Naidu, while denying any such wrongdoing, had questioned why land originally acquired from farmers to build a new capital was being sold off by the YSRCP government. Some months ago, the Leader of Opposition specifically found fault with the AP Capital Region Development Authority’s decision to lease out the residential towers, built for government employees, to private entities.
Favoured as a capital by Chief Minister Jagan Reddy, the coastal city of Visakhapatnam — its name sometimes shortened to Vizag — is the largest and most populous city in Andhra Pradesh. After Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, it is the second largest city on the east coast of India.