The Central Government on 4 February, 2020 in a response to a question filed by Telegu Desam Party (TDP) MP Jayadeva Galla said that each state is free to decide its own capital. The MP’s query came up due to the controversy surrounding Amaravati as Andhra Pradesh’s capital.
Jayadev Galla had posed a question regarding the decision of Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy to set up three capitals in the State, wherein he asked the Union Government’s reaction and whether the Union Government will advice the State Government “not to resort to such decisions”, which will vitiate the investment climate and harm farmers.
In response to this, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai stated, “Government of Andhra Pradesh had notified Amaravati as the Capital City, vide its G.O. dated 23.04.2015. Recently, media reports have appeared indicating the State Government’s decision to create three capitals for the State of Andhra Pradesh. It is for each State to decide its capital within its territory.”
The G.O. referred to by the Union Government states that the capital city be named as Amaravati. During the tenure of the previous TDP government, Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority Act, 2014, notified the capital region, which allowed them to develop the region. However, one of the bureaucrats said that the gazette notification specifying the capital was not issued partly because of oversight.
Another said, “Notifying Amaravati would have meant relinquishing rights on Hyderabad, which would otherwise have continued till 2024. The government was ambivalent on it as it was not ready to let go of Hyderabad completely. The then Chief Minister took the decision to only notify the Amaravati Capital Region Development Authority,” the bureaucrat then said.
This issue first came to light when the Centre launched a map of India following the abrogation of Article 370, which did no longer display Amaravati as Andhra’s capital. The map led to chaos and confusion on whether Amaravati was indeed the capital of Andhra Pradesh.
In January, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly (where the YSRCP enjoys a majority) passed two Bills to develop two additional capitals- Amaravati as the legislative capital, Kurnool as the judicial capital and Vizag as the executive capital. However, it hit a roadblock in the Legislative Council, where Opposition TDP has a majority, as the Legislative Council Chairman referred the Bills to a select committee on TDP’s demands.
As a result of this, the Assembly passed a statutory resolution seeking to abolish the Council. The resolution has been sent to the Union Government. If the Union Cabinet approves, the issue will come before Parliament for necessary enactment.
Author: Nandini Gandhi