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Roundup: Countdown for capital shift!

Roundup: Countdown for capital shift!

The countdown for the shifting of executive capital city of Andhra Pradesh from Amaravati to Visakhapatnam has begun, as the state assembly is meeting for a special session on Monday to pass the historic bills to “decentralise” the administration and do away with the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority that was formed in December 2014 to develop the capital city of Amaravati.

The farmers of Amaravati, who have been agitating for the last 32 days to see that the capital is not shifted to Visakhapatnam, are aware that they are only fighting a losing battle, as the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government is hell bent on going ahead with its three capitals plan. Since the ruling party has the brute majority in the House, nobody can stop it from implementing its plan.

Yet, the Telugu Desam Party led by former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu which is spearheading the agitation, is going all out to gain the maximum political mileage out of the situation.

Ironically, his own party leaders including legislators from north-coastal Andhra have not been endorsing his fight.

On the other hand, the YSR Congress party has successfully established that Naidu had resorted to largescale insider trading in deciding Amaravati as the capital city and that he is only trying to safeguard the interests of his own community people.

At the same time, it also used all its resources to establish that Amaravati is not fit for being the capital city.

The campaign for and against the capital shift in the mainstream media, too, has reached its climax.

All the three major dailies – Eenadu, Andhra Jyothy and Sakshi have carried banner stories on the fate of Amaravati that would be decided in the state assembly on Monday.

The unprecedented security arrangements and restrictions imposed by the police, warnings and threats by the government as well as assembly speaker Tammineni Sitaram and preventive arrests of the TDP as well as Amaravati Joint Action Committee leaders have also figured prominently on the front pages of the dailies.

While Eenadu has highlighted Naidu’s call to the party MLAs to fight the bills to be introduced by the government on the three capitals plan, Andhra Jyothy carried Jagan’s call to his party MLAs to speak in one voice over the capital issue in the assembly.

And Sakshi carried the report on the absence of several MLAs at the TD legislature party meeting.

In an apparent last-ditch attempt to brainwash the people of the state over the importance of Amaravati as the capital city, Eenadu carried a huge report on how the foundations in Amaravati region are very strong compared to many other places in the country and also abroad. Apparently, it wants to prove the government’s argument that Amaravati is unfit for the capital is wrong.

Andhra Jyothy carried a full-length front page “open letter” in the name of Amaravati, expressing anguish over the attempts by the Jagan government to destroy its glory and thousands of years of its legacy. Obviously, it is an attempt to play up the sentiments of Amaravati farmers.

The daily also made yet another attempt to project Visakhapatnam as unsafe zone for the capital due to high incidence of Maoist activities. It says the intelligence department has warned the government of an impending threat to politicians from Maoist leaders.

On the other hand, Sakshi carried a second lead story, as part of its series, to prove how several TDP leaders had made big money by purchasing lands in and around Amaravati through insider trading, as detected during the CID investigation.

With the commencement of the assembly session, it could as well be curtains on the fate of Amaravati in the next three or four days!

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Tags: YSRCP Andhra Pradesh Amaravthi APCRDA