VISAKHAPATNAM: Thousands of people, including students and women, joined the 3.6-km-long Visakha Garjana procession braving heavy rains in the port city on Saturday. The rainfall recorded had been 90 mm till evening, the highest of this season.
The huge procession started from Ambedkar statue at LIC Building junction. It culminated into a public meeting at YSR statue on Beach Road to demonstrate public support for Visakhapatnam being given the status of being the executive capital of Andhra Pradesh.
YSRC Uttarandhra regional coordinator and TTD chairman Y.V. Subba Reddy said despite the heavy rains, a sea of people came forward for decentralised development in the state through establishment of three capitals. The previous Telugu Desam government chose Amaravati as the capital for its own benefit, he underlined.
"Visakhapatnam will be the capital as soon as legal complications are cleared," Subba Reddy maintained.
Former minister and Gudivada MLA Kodali Nani, among those who addressed the public meeting, underlined that once Vizag becomes the executive capital, migration from north Andhra to other parts of the state can be stopped. Opposition parties like TD, Jana Sena and a section of media are opposing Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s decision to have three capitals because of their vested interests in Amaravati.
“People should understand that it is possible to develop Visakhapatnam as executive capital with limited financial resources, unlike Amaravati, which will need lakhs of crores of rupees. If Amaravati is developed with huge funds, the ultimate beneficiaries will be Chandrababu Naidu and his gang, as they each own hundreds of acres of land,” Nani remarked.
Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao said people of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh had once given up Chennai, another time Kurnool and then Hyderabad as capital. CM Jagan has decided to have three capitals to prevent such a mistake from happening again. “After 130 years, people of North Andhra have got an opportunity to establish a capital locally,” Prasada Rao declared.
Education minister Botsa Satyanarayana said, “Vizag has a huge network of rail, sea and air links. Setting up a capital here will bring huge opportunities and funds,” Botsa emphasised.
IT minister Gudivada Amarnath appreciated people for braving heavy rains and coming from various north Andhra districts in large numbers to support the movement for Vizag as capital. “Opposition parties conspired to put brakes on the mega rally. But their efforts failed miserably,” he declared.
Tourism Minister R.K. Roja said Pawan Kalyan wants Visakhapatnam for shootings and movie releases, but does not want to develop it as capital city.
JAC chairman Lajapathirai also spoke.