The agitation by farmers of Amaravati, the capital region of Andhra Pradesh, against the YSR Congress Party government’s decision to form three capitals for the state entered its 300th day on Monday.
The protesting farmers, women and youth from the capital region, under the banner of Amaravati Parirakshana Samithi (Amaravati protection committee) took out rallies and staged demonstrations in several villages in the capital region, demanding that Amaravati be retained as the only capital of the state.
Hundreds of women from Rayapudi, Thulluru, Velagapudi, Mandadam, Venkatayapalem and Krishnayapalem, under the banner of Amaravati Women Joint Action Committee, took out a rally from Thullur holding green flags and raising slogans of ‘Jai Amaravati’.
The women took strong exception to a remark made by state minister for municipal administration Botsa Satyanarayna that they were “paid protesters” propped up by the Telugu Desam Party.
“Let chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy or his cabinet ministers come here and talk to us. They will know whether we are aggrieved farmers or paid artists,” said a protester.
The minister told the reporters in Visakhapatnam on Sunday that the government would not acknowledge the so-called agitation by paid artists of Amaravati in the name of farmers. “They don’t have people’s support. It is ridiculous that they are planning to celebrate their 300 days of agitation. It is like conducting a 100-day function for a flop film,” he alleged.
The JAC leaders, however, said the agitation would continue indefinitely, till the Jagan government withdrew its three-capital plan. “When he was in the opposition, Jagan had supported Amaravati and even demanded that 30,000 acres of land should be allocated for the capital. Now, he has betrayed the farmers after coming to power,” JAC leader S Padmasri noted.
At Guntur, the farmers staged a dharna in protest against the capital shift. Several leaders from the TDP, the Congress and CPI took part in the dharna. TDP MP from Guntur Galla Jayadev said the AP Reorganisation Act was enacted by the Centre and everybody should honour this act.
“It is not correct on the part of the Centre to say now that it has nothing to do with the capital location,” he said.
At Vijayawada, the JAC leaders held a demonstration in front of the Block Revenue Office at Gandhinagar. The police took many of them into custody for violating the rules. “It is unfortunate that the state government was least bothered about the farmers who had been agitating for the last 300 days,” a JAC leader V Gopalakrishna said.
TDP general secretary and MLC Nara Lokesh took part in the agitation at Penumaka village in Amaravati and extended his support to the one-state-one-capital demand of the farmers.
He accused the chief minister of trying to kill the ‘baby capital’ of Amaravati, in utter disregard for the rights and sacrifices of farmers who gave away 34,000 acres in response to a call given by the then chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Lokesh also visited and addressed agitators at Yerrabalem, Krishnayapalem and other villages in Amaravati capital area.
The TDP activists took up demonstrations in various other places including Tirupati, Anantapur, Rajahmundry, Kurnool, etc.