The Andhra Pradesh assembly passed a controversial law that would create three capitals in the state on Monday evening while opposition leaders and peasants protested. Proposed legislative changes by the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were rejected by the house on a day when up to 17 of its members were suspended for "unruly behavior".
Some TDP politicians, including former Prime Minister Chandrababu Naidu, were arrested later that night when they tried to march against the government's decision.
The government of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had passed the decentralization and inclusive development of all regions law in Andhra Pradesh 2020 in the extended winter session of the assembly at the beginning of the day, which is to specify the plan for the three-capital system. She suggests making Visakhapatnam the executive capital of Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati the legislative capital, and Kurnool the judicial capital.
The bill was submitted hours after the Cabinet released it. The difficult task now is to vacate the Legislative Council, in which the ruling YSR Congress commands only nine of its 58 members.
Despite disputes over the bill, hundreds of farmers and women from the state's Amaravati region broke the security chain despite banning orders, almost breaking the complex of state legislation. The police used a lathi to disperse them.
The 17 TDP members were suspended when they continued to call "Jai Amaravati" despite repeated calls to remain silent. When they refused to leave the house, spokesman Tammineni Seetharam asked the marshals to physically carry them out. "We are not changing the capital as such. We are just adding two new capitals. Amaravati will remain the same. We will not do any region wrong," said Prime Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The former TDP government under Chandrababu Naidu wanted to build a single capital in Amaravati, but the plan was rejected by the YSR Congress government after it rose to power in May and won 151 of the state's 171 seats. The move angered farmers in the region who were already deeply invested in the previous government's plans.
"Nowhere in the world does a state have three capitals. Today is a black day and we wanted to save Amaravati and Andhra Pradesh. Not only I but people are fighting and are coming out on streets all over the state. The government is arresting everyone." This is bad for democracy, "Chandrababu Naidu told ANI.
Jagan Mohan Reddy, however, claims that the TDP chief's vision for Amaravati appears to be more of a "real estate project" than a state capital.
In addition to the establishment of the three state capitals, the draft law provides for the division of Andhra Pradesh into different zones and the establishment of zone planning and development plans. The system of community and community secretariats introduced by the government in October last year is now legally safeguarded as part of the new law.