Skeletons seem to be tumbling out in the war of words between Andhra Pradesh senior minister Botsa Satyanarayana and Rajya Sabha MP YS Chowdary who recently shifted from the Telugu Desam Party to the BJP.
Mr Satyanarayana had recently said that Amaravati may be an unsafe location for the new capital as it lies in a "flood-prone" zone and it would work out doubly expensive due to the nature of the terrain. Whereas, YS Chowdary, popularly known as Sujana Chowdary, said the government would have to face the farmers' ire if they shifted the capital out of Amaravati.
Both Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and his YSR Congress have alleged that there was "insider trading" in choosing Amaravati as the capital. They alleged that YS Chowdary was in fact one of the beneficiaries.
Mr Satyanarayana has put out in public domain documents and information that suggest that Mr Chowdary used information he had about the future location of the capital during Chandrababu Naidu's rule to buy land from farmers and reportedly benefitted.
YSR Congress sources say Mr Chowdary is in possession of over 600 acres of land bordering the capital area region, in a safe distance from the land pooling zone. Sources add all the land purchased is said to have been registered in the name of an organization that belongs to Mr Chowdary.
"All the allegations are baseless and the funny part is that they simply added up the properties of various people carrying my family name," Mr Chowdary said, refuting the allegations.
There are reports that Jagan Mohan Reddy instead of Amaravati may opt for four capital cities located in different parts of the state.
YSR Congress has long opposed the idea of setting up the state capital in Amaravati, as envisioned by Chandrababu Naidu. The reasons for this are its alleged reluctance to create a "concrete jungle" in the fertile Krishna delta; "illegal" procurement of land by the former TDP government; alleged corruption in real estate deals as well as contracts awarded; and the allegedly unnecessary acquisition of 33,000 acres of land to build the capital.
Last month, the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank dropped plans to loan up to 500 million dollars for Amaravati. Andhra Pradesh has a public debt of nearly 2.59 lakh crore, and spends Rs. 40,000 crore annually on debt servicing. The new Chief Minister's priority, on the other hand, is to fulfil poll promises that are likely to cost up to Rs.50,000 crore.
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