A three-day special session of Andhra Pradesh Assembly is set to begin on Monday amid tight security where the YSR Congress Government is likely to shelve the master plan for a futuristic capital at Amaravati amid massive protests against the proposal.
Large gatherings are banned in parts of the state capital and heavy security has been deployed on the roads leading to the secretariat and the state assembly. On Sunday, the Communist Party of India and Telugu Desam Party called for ''Chalo Assembly (Let's march to assembly)'' protest against the state government.
A three-ring security cordon will be on the routes that the Chief Minister, Mr. YS Jaganmohan Reddy, is expected to take to prevent traffic disruption.
Protests have been going on in 29 villages of Amaravati and other parts of the state for nearly five weeks by farmers who are opposing the proposal to shift the state capital from Amaravati. The state government has proposed to set up Amaravati as the legislative capital, Visakhapatnam as the executive capital and Kurnool as the judicial capital of Andhra Pradesh.
Expert committees headed by a former IAS officer, Mr. GN Rao and the Boston consulting Group have presented reports to the Chief Minister that seem to support and advocate the idea. As the three-day special session begins, the assembly is scheduled to approve the report of the High-Powered Committee (HPC) on 'distributed capital functions'.
In 2014, 28,000 farmers had given up nearly 33,000 acres of agricultural land for the 'futuristic capital' proposed by the then chief minister, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu. The farmers fear they will suffer financial setback if the capital is moved from Amaravati.
Several opposition parties - the Telugu Desam, the BJP, Jana Sena, Communist Party Of India - have backed the protests. Mr. Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena and the BJP, who announced an alliance for 2024 state elections last week, have said that Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy cannot take unilateral decision on shifting the capital.
Last week, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had sought a response from the state government on a clutch of petitions accusing the police of high-handedness during protests. It had also questioned the deployment of heavy security in various parts of the state capital.
The Chief Minister, Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy, has said the government cannot spend Rs 1 lakh crore to build a grand capital at Amaravati. He has also alleged insider trading in real estate by those allegedly close to Mr. Naidu.
The YSR Congress leader,Mr. Ambati Rambabu, and state home minister, Sucharita have also accused the TDP chief and his party of spreading unrest in the state for his 'political survival', claiming that he wants to protect lands of a particular community.
On Sunday, Mr. Naidu dismissed the claims and said there is 'no logic' in having three capitals and called the government's proposed plan just a 'witch hunt' against the TDP.
'Does it makes sense to shift the capital when the construction is almost at an advanced stage? An investment of nearly Rs 50,000 crore has been committed that has potential to generate 50,000 jobs. About 130 institutes from hospitals to education hub were to come up. All this will not happen if the capital is shifted,' Mr Naidu said.