Reiterating his position on decentralization and the three capitals, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday said his government was “exploring legal alternatives and alternative measures” to challenge the state high court’s March 3 ruling, directing his government to develop Amravati. As capital within six months
Jagan argued that the High Court order raised questions about the constitutional boundaries of the legislature, the executive branch and the judiciary.
“The court should not violate our law-making process. We have come to power with a huge mandate. There is no point in the legislature if we cannot question the judiciary. Decentralization is our policy, ”the chief minister said, adding that the final decision on capitals comes under the constitutional authority of the state government.
In its March 3 judgment, the Andhra Pradesh High Court said that the state government lacked the “legislative power” to establish Amravati, Visakhapatnam and Kurnool as the legislative, executive and judicial capitals of the state, respectively. The court directed the state government instead. Reconstruct Amravati as the only capital city in six months. In addition, it has directed the Yubjana Sramika Raithu Congress Party (YSRCP) government to develop infrastructure for basic amenities like roads, drinking water and power lines within a month.
The High Court order was welcomed in 2014 by the then Telugu Desam Party regime proposed by the then Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, the Amravati agitating peasants who had given up their lands for the development of the capital region.
Speaking at the rally on Thursday, Jagan promised to protect the interests of Amravati farmers but insisted that the deadline set by the high court for Amravati’s development was “impractical and impossible to implement”.
“No court can set an impossible timeline. Six years ago, the estimated budget for infrastructure development on 54,000 acres of land in Amravati was Rs 1.09 lakh crore, but now that number has multiplied. Even the TDP has spent only Rs 5,000 crore in 2016-2019 and the state government cannot go beyond that. Our agenda is all-round development and not just Amravati, ”the Chief Minister argued.
While Jagan was adamant about his three-capital plan, TDP chief Naidu accused him of ridiculing and disrespecting the high court.
“Jagan is a symbol of destructive politics. The High Court upheld the rights of the farmers. Blaming the purpose of the High Court order, Jagan has descended to a new lower level. 151 YSRCP MLAs are ruling like Kauravas (referring to the Mahabharata), but they will soon face defeat, ”Naidu said.
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