Telugu Desam Party (TDP) national president and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had to face the ire of angry protestors while he was en route Amaravati, the capital city on Thursday. His convoy, which started from his residence at Undavalli village was blocked by protestors, particularly angry farmers who shouted ‘Naidu go back’ slogans, pelted stones and hurled slippers at him.
The former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu along with his other party leaders had planned a ‘Chalo Amaravathi’ tour to meet the farmers who had donated their land for the capital region and pay a visit to the sites of projects he had initiated as CM, which was either stalled or terminated at the hands of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) after it came to power in May this year.
His 20-vehicle convoy met its first impediment after a group of farmers blocked their way 15 kilometres from Vijayawada, at Venkatapalem. Even as security personnel tried to disperse the crowd, the protestors blocked the entourage including the private bus Naidu was travelling in. As per reports, the protesting farmers hurled slippers, pelted stones cracking the window panes on the bus Naidu was in.
TDP was quick to point fingers at the ruling YSRCP, alleging that the farmers were prompted by Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy and his government to disrupt Naidu’s tour. This claim was, however, vehemently refuted by Reddy’s government who in turn alleged that the farmers who had turned violent were anguished with ‘rampant corruption during Naidu regime’ and were self-motivated.
The TDP has had a sour relationship with the ruling YSR Congress Party after having lost in the 2019 Assembly elections. The erstwhile Naidu government had envisioned Amaravati on the lines of Singapore and availed the services of the Singapore government for drawing its master plan, consisting of nine theme cities and 27 townships in 217 sq km area. Aiming to connect Amaravati with six neighbouring towns including Vijayawada and Guntur, the previous dispensation had estimated a budget of over Rs 1 lakh cr for the greenfield capital city.
Naidu’s govt had taken 33,000 acres from farmers under land pooling, promised construction of world-class capital. However, they could manage to construct only a few buildings those too were completed 55 to 75 per cent only.
Soon after Reddy came to power in May, the World Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank pulled out of a $500 million funding they had promised for the Amaravati capital city project. A Singapore consortium comprising Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp also withdrew from the capital city startup area after the state government decided not to proceed with the project owing to its other priorities.
On Tuesday, however, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy reviewed the status of constructions and gave nod to continue the construction works that were halted, indirectly indicating that Amaravati would remain the capital, albeit in a pruned down version.
Naidu, however, has alleged that due to the halted works, Amravati resembles a ‘ghost town’.