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Chandrababu Naidu dares Jagan Reddy for referendum over capital, vows to quit politics if people voted

He demanded that the Chief Minister apologise to the people and withdraw the move to relocate the state capital in deference to the wishes of six crore people of the state.

PTI | Amravati |

Opposition Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday challenged the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government to conduct a referendum on the three capitals for the state plan and vowed to quit politics if people voted for it.

He demanded that the Chief Minister apologise to the people and withdraw the move to relocate the state capital in deference to the wishes of six crore people of the state.

Mr Naidu addressed a massive rally to mark the first anniversary of the farmers struggle for retaining Amaravati as the state capital.

It was on this day last year that the Chief Minister came up with the idea of having three capitals for the state, on the lines of executive system of functioning from South Africa.

Subsequently, his government passed a legislation naming Visakhapatnam as the Executive Capital and Kurnool as the Judicial Capital while retaining Amaravati as the Legislative Capital.

The matter is now sub-judice as the farmers who had given up over 33,000 acres of their fertile lands for the development of Amaravati city, moved the Andhra Pradesh High Court opposing the relocation of the state capital.

Since December last year, the local farmers, with the support of political parties and other organisations, have been conducting a peaceful agitation demanding that Amaravati be retained as the state capital.

“Barring the ruling YSR Congress, all political parties and people organisations extended support to the agitation and took part in the rally that was held amid severe restrictions by the police.

No sane person will shift the (state) capital. In case, are you ready for a referendum on the issue? I will permanently quit politics if people back your move,” Mr Naidu told Jagan Reddy.

He called the YSRC chief “one time Chief Minister”, saying that the latter will “bite the dust at the hustings next time.”

“People voted Jagan to power after he sought just one chance. But this would be his last chance as he completely betrayed the people. He can’t escape the curse of the women,” the leader of opposition in the assembly said.

BJP state president Somu Veerraju, who extended solidarity with the agitating farmers, asserted in a statement that his party stood for Amaravati as the state capital.

BJP will undertake a movement for Amaravati as the capital city.

We will exert pressure on the state government.

The Central government is committed to do everything that’s beneficial to the state, Mr Veerraju said.

The Congress, which too extended support to the farmers’ agitation, said that Jagan Reddy had voted for Amaravati as the capital city.

“Even people of Rayalaseema, the region to which Jagan belongs, are opposed to the three capitals idea. He should give it up,” Congress working president N Thulasi Reddy said.

The Left parties, Jana Sena and other outfits extended support to the Amaravati agitation.