Has Visakha Garjana stoked the politics of pitching one region against the other in Andhra Pradesh? – The Hindu

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October 15, 2022 09:12 pm | Updated October 16, 2022 01:53 pm IST – VISAKHAPATNAM
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Senior YSRCP leaders at the ‘Visakha Garjana’ rally in Visakhapatnam on Saturday. | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak
If the turnout is to be considered as the yardstick for measuring success, then ‘Visakha Garjana’, organised by the Uttarandhra JAC that was formed to endorse support to the State government’s decision on three capitals and decentralised development, can be termed a success.
In the Saturday’s ‘garjana’ in Visakhapatnam, thousands turned up.
Though it was much less than the expected one lakh to two lakh people, it could still be called a success, as the crowd, which included students, had come from various corners of the city and district braving incessant and heavy downpour.
But a major takeaway from the rally, apart from revisiting the old demand of making Visakhapatnam the capital of the State, was that in 1952 the Wanchoo Committee had recommended it.
As per a few political scientists, it also stoked the politics of pitching one region against the other.
A senior political science professor said, “When it comes to policy decisions, the stakeholders are never consulted, and the decision is taken by the ruling party unanimously. But the people of the region, be it Kashmir or North-East, or Telangana or Andhra Pradesh, or for that matter Amaravati and Visakhapatnam, are never taken into confidence. They are called in to support or negate a political decision only when the leaders feel that things may not materialise their way.”
Historically, it is rare to recollect when and where people from the conflicting regions are brought onto a common platform to thrash out differences and arrive at a consensus, despite this being the essence of conflict resolution and management.
This is mainly due to the fact that the conflict in most cases is not between the people of the regions, but is between the leaders of various regions and political parties. And this is not a regional or national factor, but a global factor, as noted by many researchers in conflict resolution.
The capital city of Andhra Pradesh has always been the bone of contention ever since its formation. Not only the people of the region but also the opinions of experts of the various commissions have been ignored by the successive governments.
In 1953, Tanguturi Prakasam, the first Chief Minister of the newly carved State of Andhra Pradesh, had chosen Kurnool as the temporary capital, and set his eyes on Hyderabad as the permanent capital despite the Wanchoo Committee recommending a place between Vijayawada and Guntur as the permanent capital and Visakhapatnam as the temporary capital.
Later, in 1956, after Hyderabad was merged as part of the Visalandhra Movement and the unified State of Andhra Peadesh came into being, Hyderabad was made the capital.
With TDP’s N. Chandrababu Naidu, after taking over as Chief Minister in 1995, adopting Hyderabad-centric development, the residual State of Andhra Pradesh lost heavily post its bifurcation in 2014.
Taking over as Chief Minister for the third time in 2014, Mr. Naidu had declared Amaravati as the capital region with the idea of building a mega greenfield capital city there.
Both the Sri Krishna Committee and the Sivaramakrishnan Committee had adversely spoken against capital-centric development, and elaborated on decentralised development, which were ignored.
Citing the reports, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, after taking over as the Chief Minister in 2019, had floated the idea of decentralisation by proposing three capitals, with Amaravati being the Legislative capital, Visakhapatnam the Executive capital and Kurnool the Judicial capital.
Only time will tell whether Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s idea achieves the goals of ‘decentralised development” or “decentralised administration.”
The proposal led to the formation of a JAC in Amaravati that launched a Maha Padayatra from Amaravati to Arasavalli to oppose the three capitals. To counter it, people from the North Andhra region too formed a JAC.
While the Amaravati JAC has the support of the TDP and other opposition parties such as the Left parties and the BJP, the YSRCP is extending its support to the Uttarandhra JAC.
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Andhra Pradesh / state politics
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