On Monday, at a cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in Amaravati, the Andhra Pradesh state government passed two bills to decentralise the state's capital.
The first bill intended to repeal the Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) Act, 2014.
The second was the 'Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill 2020.'
Botsa Satyanarayana, Urban Development Minister tabled the Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bill, 2020, which essentially means that Amaravati will no longer be the only state capital, as planned by the erstwhile TDP government.
Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath, who introduced the second bill, stated that it will focus on providing "decentralisation of governance and inclusive development of all regions of the state of Andhra Pradesh."
According to the decentralisation Bill, the state will now be divided into various regions or 'zones.'
A Board will govern each of these zones. The Bill is vague on the subject of the members of these boards, however, the state government had earlier said that the boards would consist of nine members, including the Chief Minister.
The Bills will be moved in the Legislative Council on Tuesday.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy asserted that the capital wasn't being shifted, but two capitals were being 'added' to the state.
He assured that Amaravati will not suffer any injustice.
Backed by the former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the farmers from the region have been protesting against Jaganmohan Reddy government's proposal of decentralizing the capital, Amaravati.
In 2014, more than 28,000 farmers had pooled their land towards the construction and development of Amaravati. During his term (2014-19), Naidu had proposed a start-up hub, and three grand structures for the secretariat, assembly and a high court in Amaravati.
The 1,700-acre start-up hub in Amaravati, among other projects, was scrapped by the YSR Congress Party government.
The TDP had proposed amendments to the Bill, all of which were rejected by the House.
Leader of Opposition Chandrababu Naidu told the CM that he was 'pleading with folded hands' not to shift the capital from Amaravati to Vizag.
Seventeen Telugu Desam Party MLAs and Chandrababu Naidu were suspended for disrupting proceedings which went on for nearly 12 hours during the chief minister's address about the bill. They were detained later in the night and were taken to the Mangalagiri police station as they tried to take out a march against the government's decision.
The ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) had a strong majority of 151 in the 175-member assembly, which is why the bills were easily approved.
However, the government could face hurdles in getting the bills cleared in the Legislative Council as it has only nine members in the legislative council, out of 58, while the TDP enjoys a majority of 28 there.
The possible support of BJP and others could help the TDP to effectively stall, albeit temporarily.
The passage of the bills would ensure that Andhra Pradesh would now have three capitals, Amaravati as the legislative capital, Visakhapatnam as the executive capital and Kurnool as the judicial capital.