Andhra Pradesh: Bill passed to repeal three capitals act

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh (AP) Legislative Assembly on Monday passed a bill to repeal the contentious A.P. Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, that was put in place to establish three capitals for the state.

Without referring to the farmers of the Amaravati region, who have been fighting the ruling YSR Congress Party’s (YSRCP) decision to have three capitals instead of one for close to two years now, AP chief minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy said the government will explain its “true intention and the need for decentralization” to all sections of society.

Jagan Mohan Reddy added that the ruling party will put in place necessary changes in a new bill. The government had earlier said that the state could have three capitals — Vishakapatnam (executive capital), Amaravati (legislative capital), and Kurnool (judiciary capital).

The chief minister however, told the Assembly that his government would bring a “thorough, complete and finer” decentralisation bill. While nothing is sure, as there is ambiguity on whether Amaravati will be restored as the capital, there are strong political rumours that Vishakhapatnam would be chosen instead.

“The 2020 Act was being repealed to protect the wider interests of the public. Our intention of a decentralized development of the State has been twisted, contorted and a misinformation campaign was launched. Legal obstacles were created and court cases filed,” the Andhra Pradesh chief minister stated, referring to the cases filed with the High Court on this issue.

The state cabinet, which met at the state secretariat under the leadership of chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, approved the decision to repeal the two acts – Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development (Repeal) Act and AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, passed by the state assembly in June 2020.

APCRDA was created by the previous TDP government in 2015 to develop Amaravati as the state capital. The Jagan government abolished the same and decided to establish three capitals for the state – executive capital at Visakhapatnam, judicial capital at Kurnool, and legislative capital at Amaravati. While there is no clarity as of yet, sources indicate that Vizag is very likely to be the next capital.

The new capital would prove to be an important decision for the landscape of Andhra Pradesh. This comes at a time when farmers from Amaravati had protested for over 700 days in the last 20 days to ensure that it Amaravati would be the sole capital of the state. In fact, a significant number of farmers gave up their land to ensure a world-class capital.

AP advocate general Subrahmanyam Sriram informed the state high court that the two acts are going to be withdrawn. The high court has been hearing over 100 petitions challenging the Jagan Mohan Reddy government’s decision to form three capitals.