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BJP's U-turn on AP capital baffles many

BJP’s U-turn on AP capital baffles many
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BJP’s U-turn on AP capital baffles many

Highlights

The developments in Andhra Pradesh wherein Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan gave his consent for the Bills on decentralisation of capitals have given a new twist to the politics in Andhra Pradesh

The developments in Andhra Pradesh wherein Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan gave his consent for the Bills on decentralisation of capitals have given a new twist to the politics in Andhra Pradesh.

The government can take any decision it deems to be right in the interest of people. The decision to have three capitals may, in the long run, prove to be advantageous for the State. That only future will tell and here we do not intend to question the decision of the government to go in for decentralisation of administration.

The issue relates to the life of farmers and all those who had invested in starting construction of the capital city. About Rs 10,000 crore has so far been invested on it. With this decision, the worst affected is the farmer. It was not a political party which had taken the land. It was the government of Andhra Pradesh as an ally of the NDA government led by the BJP at Centre which had asked farmers to give the land. The Opposition and other parties also supported it. The farmers gave the land to the government with the hope that the future of their children and grandchildren would be bright. It was the government which had taken possession of the land and started construction activities.

The farmers were promised developmental fruits in turn apart from monetary compensation by the duly elected government then. Developmental works had begun on a large scale with the State government's approval and the cascading effect had lent a boom to the real estate in the entire region with huge investments kept pouring in. Flats were sold like hot cakes for around Rs 1 crore and above as well within minutes of opening online bookings.

Amaravati was a very hot property then. The government had raised Rs 2,000 crore worth of bonds within one hour's time. Now the farmers cannot get back the fertile land in its original form. Those who invested in bonds are doomed. The construction activity had come to a grinding halt. Many people who invested by booking flats and proposed villas by taking bank loans and are still repaying are now in for a rude shock. Even if they want to sell off their property, no one would be coming forward.

But then how and why did the farmers agree to invest by giving land to the government. Why did several NRIs and local people invest in realty sector? It was because, the foundation stone for the capital of residuary State was laid by none other than the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Incidentally, this was also the first foundation stone laid by the newly elected Prime Minister in the presence of several leaders including the Chief Minister of Telangana K Chandrashekar Rao.

The Prime Minister had assured that the Modi Babu Jodi would construct a capital better than Delhi and that the Centre would fully cooperate with the State government (Not the TDP). He brought holy water and mud and gifted on that day. The Centre also gave about Rs 1,500 crore to the State for the construction of the capital.

Now after the Governor's assent to the three-capital Bills, the BJP leader G V L Narsimha Rao says the Centre has no role regarding the capital issue. He said the Centre gave funds to the State and the State was accounted for it. "We, as a party, felt that the capital should be in Amravati but in this matter, the Centre has nothing to do with the State government's decision to have three capitals."

Well, whether the Centre has any role or not and whether the State government's decision is well within the framework of the Constitution or not is something which the courts will take care of and the people will decide in future. But the decision of the Governor to give assent to the three-capitals Bills has come as a major shock to the investors and the farmers in Amaravati.

The latest developments raise an important question. Does the word or assurance of the Prime Minister or political leaders have any sanctity? Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated by closing the doors of Parliament and by switching off live telecast of the Parliamentary proceedings by the UPA government. But people accepted it because it was in tune with the sentiments of the people of Telangana. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured the Parliament that in return Andhra Pradesh would get Special Category Status. This he had done under pressure from the BJP which refused to pass the Bill in Rajya Sabha unless the government agreed for this condition. In the elections that followed, the BJP said it would give special status for 10 years.

But then what happened is history. It gave several explanations for not giving special category status. With that, one promise of the Prime Minister was dumped. Now as things are unfolding, it becomes clear that all that was perhaps part of the political strategy of the saffron party. The target is to ensure that along with 'one nation one election', it should be 'one nation no Opposition'. The Opposition parties too allowed themselves to become victims of this politricks.

In case of Amravati, about 200 days ago when the present government stated that it would have three capitals as part of decentralisation of administration, the farmers were agitating even following the corona protocols. The State BJP too was vociferous. They also joined all those who opposed shifting of capital. The Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan who thundered at various political meetings that the Centre had given rotten ladoos, opposed shifting of the capital. Pawan went around Amaravati, met farmers and said that development had begun and hence capital should not be shifted.

In an interview a couple of days ago, Pawan, who is in Chaturmasya Deeksha, reiterated that capital cannot be shifted. The Jana Sena, an ally of the BJP, should explain what happened and why the BJP at the Centre took a U-turn. It would be interesting to observe what stand Pawan would take now.

One thing is very clear, there is nothing like value-based politics. It has become only a slogan. The welfare schemes too are tailored to ensure vote banks and not real welfare of the people.

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