Nearly a week after Governor Bishwabhushan Harichandan gave his nod to the two controversial bills, the Andhra Pradesh government received a big blow to its proposed move to create three capitals in the state.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday directed the Jagan government to maintain status quo on its move to trifurcate the state. Hearing a batch of petitions, the HC stayed the two bills- Decentralization of development and CRDA repeal bill till August 14
The High Court directed the government to file a counter while posting the next hearing to August 14. The petitioners, including Amaravati farmers and Joint Action Committee filed petitions in the HC seeking stay on the gazette issued by the governor
The petitioners through their counsels Shyam Diwan and Muralidhar argued that the bills were approved in the most unconstitutional manner. Governor Bishwabhushan Harichandan last week approved the two controversial bills — the Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of all Regions Bill and APCRDA Repeal Bill paving the way for creating three capitals in Andhra Pradesh — Visakhapatnam as executive capital, Amaravati as legislature capital and Kurnool as the judicial capital. His assent to the two bills comes in the midst of demand by the Opposition parties to refer them to President Ram Nath Kovind. The matter if sub-judice, yet the Governor gave his green signal to the two bills.
On July 18, the Jagan government had sent the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 for setting up three capitals in the state to the Governor for his assent.
Both the Bills were passed in the Assembly in January and introduced in the Council, while the chairman referred them to the Select Committee. The bills were halted in the Assembly for the second time as the session was suspended amid pandemonium.
The previous TDP government has acquired over 35,000 acres of land from over 28,000 farmers in Amaravati. Soon after riding to power, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had proposed three capitals — Amaravati as the legislative capital, Visakhapatnam as the executive capital and Kurnool as the legal capital. This triggered massive protests from thousands of farmers who gave their lands for the capital construction at Amaravati. ; they have been protesting against the move for more than 230 days now.
The Governor’s approval triggered a fresh political row in the state. TDP president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu termed it as a historic blunder AP Governor’s approval to the two bills and slammed Jagan for the proposed three capitals move stating that it was an unlawful decision in violation of the AP Reorganisation Act 2014.
Naidu said Jagan has betrayed the farmers by announcing that the capital will be shifted to Vizag from Amaravati. He reminded Jagan that he once spoke in favour of Amaravati as the only capital of the state on the floor of the Assembly when he was the Opposition leader prior to 2019 elections. But, after coming to power, the chief minister reversed his decision . “This is betrayal. The dreams of five crore people of Andhra Pradesh remain shattered and farmers aspirations have been butchered by this chief minister,” Naidu criticized.
Naidu also threw a challenge at Jagan to seek re-election as a referendum on the three capitals issue. He challenged the YSRCP leaders to resign and seek fresh voting on Amaravati. He said the TDP leaders, including himself, are ready to resign and seek re-election. “We are ready to quit. Will you also resign and seek a fresh vote on Amaravati and your unwise decision to create three capitals,” Naidu had asked.