Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated into two states, in 2014. Even after almost a decade of an independent Andhra state, there remains considerable confusion over its capital. When the state was divided into two, the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu tabled the idea of having Amaravathi as the new capital, as Hyderabad went with Telangana.
The government took active steps to develop their new capital city. The land was acquired, and plans
were laid and even the bhumi puja had taken place, but the plan stopped mid-way through after the change in government.
The idea of a grand capital that Naidu had envisioned received a strong blow after a novel idea of capital by YSR Reddy. Reddy proposed the idea of three capitals, a different centre for the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary. To push the idea of multiple capitals even further the Andhra Pradesh Legislature passed an act, The AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020.
The act essentially states the idea of having three capitals for the state. The reasoning behind the idea is both administrative and representative. The YSR Congress Party believes that having three capitals in Amravati, Guntur, and Vizag will give a boost to the development of three different parts of the state. The Reddy-led government also stated that the plan for a ‘grand capital’ in Amravati was unaffordable for the government of the day.
The Division of Capitals
The State Legislature will be located at Velagapudi in the Guntur district. The offices of HoD and the Chief Minister’s office will be shifted to the executive capital of Visakhapatnam, and the principal seat of AP High Court (currently located in Guntur district) will be moved to Kurnool.
The idea of having three capitals has a considerable number of naysayers. The act was challenged by several farmers in the High Court under former Chief Justice J.K. Maheswari. The court ruled in favour of the farmers and directed the government to develop Amaravathi as the sole capital.
In 2022, the YSR-led government re-introduced the three-capital idea. The Chief Minister stated reasoned that Vizag, with its location and infrastructure, is a natural choice for the executive capital. However, Amravathi would require huge funds for a basic level of infrastructure. This act was countered by the farmers who launched a non-political action against the bill.