Andhra Pradesh Withdraws Controversial 3-Capital Bill

Three capitals were proposed in the bill - executive capital at Vizag, legislative capital at Amaravati, judicial capital at Kurnool.

YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is expected to make the big announcement in the state assembly. (File)

The YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led government in Andhra Pradesh has withdrawn the controversial three-capital bill after a spate of legal hurdles. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, however, said his government would bring a "comprehensive, complete and better" Bill.

"Our intention of a decentralised development of the state has been twisted, distorted and a misinformation launched. Also, legal hurdles were created and court cases filed," the Chief Minister said in the assembly. The 2020 Act was being repealed to protect the larger interests of people, he said.

The AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development Bill was meant to trifurcate Andhra Pradesh's capital into three – the executive capital at Vizag, legislative capital at Amaravati, judicial capital at Kurnool.

Without referring to the farmers of Amaravati region -- who had been fighting the three capitals decision for more than 700 days now -- Mr Reddy said the government would explain its " genuine intention and the need for decentralisation" to all concerned and incorporate necessary changes in the new Bill.

Farmers had also objected to further and acquisition in Vishakhapatnam and Kurnool, especially in view of the 33,000  acres of fertile land acquired for Amaravati by Mr Reddy's predecessor Chandrababu Naidu.

A 45-day foot march was kicked off from Amaravati to Tirupati by farmers on November 1. The protesters reached Nellore on Sunday.

The decision to scrap the Bill was taken at an emergency cabinet meeting on Sunday. The High Court, where multiple petitions were filed challenging the bill, was informed by the Advocate General about the government decision.

The YSR Congress-led government had scrapped Chandrababu Naidu's grand plan for Amaravati last year, opting instead for three capitals, saying it intended to equally develop all regions of the state. But it ran into opposition from many quarters.

There was an overall impression that Mr Reddy had scrapped the Amaravati project in favour of a three capital plan to upstage his predecessor Mr Naidu.

The matter finally went to the Andhra Pradesh High Court, which ordered that status quo be maintained. The government failed to get any relief from the Supreme Court last year.