Uncertainty in Andhra: Hyderabad No More A Joint Capital

As Hyderabad will cease to be the joint capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on June 2, the fate of Amaravati and its geographical location remains in limbo even 10 years after bifurcation.
Uncertainty in Andhra: Hyderabad No More A Joint Capital

Apart from Amaravati, the current Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has been saying since coming to power 2019 that his government will develop the cities of Visakhapatnam and Kurnool as Executive and Judicial capitals respectively. But during 2019-2024, the proposal for three capitals did not materialize due to legal complications. On the other hand, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has resolved to take oath in Visakhapatnam if he comes to power for the second time. That is the message he wants to convey is that he is committed to the proposals of the three capitals.

Row on Hyderabad Joint Capital

When Telangana Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy prioritized the resolution of outstanding disputes between the Telugu states, AP politicians began putting pressure on the Centre to keep Hyderabad as the joint capital. Former IPS officer and founder of the newly formed Bharat National Party, V.V. Lakshminarayana, claimed that the Centre must intervene and prolong the provision that retains Hyderabad as the joint capital of the Telugu states till the AP government decides on its capital.

While issues like division of public assets worth up to Rs 1.4 lakh crore are still to be resolved, Andhra Pradesh's ruling YSRCP and key opposition TDP are holding on to their respective positions in one and three capitals.

Curious Case of AP Capitals

Enacted on 1 March 2014, the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014 states that Hyderabad will be the common capital for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh 'for a period not exceeding 10 years', and accordingly, with effect from 2 June 2024, Hyderabad will capital only for Telangana. Although the law envisages a new capital and clarifies the time frame of 10 years, it is not at the end of the tunnel for Andhra Pradesh given the conflicting stances and initiatives of the two governments in the last ten years.

When YSRCP chief and current Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy came to power in 2019 by ousting the N Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP regime (2014-19), he shattered his predecessor's dreams of Amaravati capital by proposing to create three capital cities.

Controversy of Amaravati Vs Three Capitals:

Advocating decentralization and welfare-centric governance, Reddy introduced Amaravati as the legislative capital, Kurnool as the judicial capital and the sagar nagar Visakhapatnam as the executive capital from where he will function.

During the months before the assembly elections, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had promised several times that he would relocate to Visakhapatnam, but failed to keep his word, and according to the YSRCP this was due to legal complications. Cases related to the proposal for three capital cities are pending in the Supreme Court. When he was the Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu made grand plans to make Amaravati the state capital. Although he could not go ahead due to various reasons.

Amid this scenario there is a debate going on over continuation of Hyderabad as joint capital.  Leaders of Andhra Pradesh demanding Center to continue the ongoing arrangement of Hyderabad as joint capital till the capital city is finalized for Andhra Pradesh State. Meanwhile, amid conflicting ideas, assertions and legal tangles, June 4, the day of counting of votes, is seen by many as a harbinger of hope for Andhra Pradesh as the party forming the next government is expected to clear the decks for the much-awaited capital city.