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Vijayawada-Guntur ideal capital for Telugunadu

Vijayawada-Guntur ideal capital for Telugunadu
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New Capital For Seemandhra, Vijayawada-Guntur Ideal Capital For Telugunadu. BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu was in the city and addressed a meeting...

BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu was in the city and addressed a meeting organised by the Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the burning topic of the bifurcation of the State and connected issues of far- reaching consequences. He tried to give a detailed explanation of what exactly had happened in both Houses of Parliament. He was not apologetic about their party’s acquiescence in the passing of the bill on Telangana formation as it was in their agenda for a long time, but was very critical of the way in which the Congress party rushed through it in the most undemocratic manner without any semblance of a discussion.

The bill was brought in strategically in the last session in the midst of unprecedented uproar from the members of their own party and BJP was caught on the wrong foot and if they had not supported it, the blame would have been on them and the Congress party was banking on it. That was the blackest day in the history of our democracy when live telecast was cut out and concerned bill declared passed in a voice vote. He said that all that they could do under those conditions was to get clear assurance from the Prime Minister on the floor of the House for a special category status for the State and that was quite an achievement as the best under a bad bargain. Naidu advised the Seemandhra people to reconcile themselves to this situation and sink all their differences and come together for the development of the State in all respects on par with States like Gujarat for which it has all favourable conditions.

While appreciating his party’s stand and his unequivocal justification for it there are a few disturbing issues on which he was vague and reluctant to be drawn into a controversy. That is about the capital for the area wrongly referred to as ‘residuary State’. It is from the State of Andhra Pradesh Telangana is being carved and the contention that it was only a demerger and not a separate State is untenable. Seemandhra is a term which has come into circulation on the assumption that it was the return to the situation before the formation of AP in 1956 and after coming out from Madras in 1953.

There are some leaders in Rayalaseema region who demand a separate State or at least separate identity for themselves with a special package and capital in their region with Kurnool as before. One would like to know why Venkaiah Naidu had not applied his mind to this problem and insisted in his talks with Congress leaders like Jairam Ramesh who was in constant touch with him and conceded most of his demands for supporting the bill, included capital issue also in it. It is going to be a real headache for the leaders of the three regions of ‘residuary State’, North Andhra, Coastal areas and Rayalaseema. Even those who have absolutely no claim for it are jumping into the fray putting forth their demands. Kurnool, Tirupathi, Ongole, Donakonda, Vijayawada-Guntur, Rajahmundry-Kakinada and Visakhapatnam are the serious contenders for this honour in the hope that their land value would go up and make them prosperous.

There is some truth in it as proximity to the capital, the seat of power, has several advantages. Look at Delhi. It is so far away from the South and it is accessible only for the politicians and the affluent sections who fly. People living around Delhi and nearby States enjoy a greater advantage in everything over those far away. Keeping all this in mind, our visionary leader, one of our framers of our Constitution, Dr B R Ambedkar, suggested that there should be a second capital for this country as Delhi was on the border and vulnerable to attacks from unfriendly countries and for that Hyderabad was suitable as it was centrally located and well-connected from all over the country.

The situation in which we have now landed would never have arisen if his sane counsel was heeded then! Similarly, when Telangana issue was raising its head periodically at the whims of a few disgruntled leaders, the suggestions were made by some well-meaning intellectuals that a second capital for the State must be developed and for that Vijayawada was very ideal.

With improved facilities of transport and communication and excellent roads, a very strong view of knowledgeable persons is that it is unwise and imprudent to concentrate all the wings of developmental activities at one place and they should all be dispersed all over the State. Hyderabad had become such a bone of contention for both the regions only because of concentration of all offices, educational facilities and public sector undertakings in that place. Chandrababu Naidu, a shrewd politician who knows on which side his bread is buttered, claims that it was he who developed Hyderabad into IT hub inviting the best talent to it from all over the world and also in several other industries but now rues that he had done so neglecting all other regions. It is too late now and it takes a long time for him or for anybody who succeeds to come to power in this part to develop it to the level of Hyderabad city from where they have been thrown out.

Having said all this, I fully agree with the views expressed by a learned freelance editor, U Athreya Sarma, in his article on Thursday “Reconciliation and reconstruction”, “Considering its central location and communication and water facilities, Vijayawada should be the natural choice. That development already existing there is a plus point and it would be in sync with the coastal corridor development in alignment with the other capital cities of Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and Chennai.”

In this connection it is worth recalling that soon after the self-immolation of Potti Sriramulu, Nehru conceded the demand for separate State and appointed Justice Wanchoo committee to give its report on the capital and other issues. That committee’s unanimous finding was that Vijayawada was ideally suited for the new State of Andhra as it had everything required to become one of the best capitals in the country. Vijayawada missed the bus thrice in 1953, in 1956 and later in 1972 when there was unprecedented Jai Andhra agitation for separate State. While on this subject it is relevant to say that instead of calling ‘residuary State’, Seemandhra and so on, it should be named as ‘Telugunadu’ or ‘Teluguseema’ which would be more appropriate as the word ‘Andhra’ has proved to be unlucky.

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