What Is Andhra Pradesh's Capital Now That It's No Longer Hyderabad? Here's Why

The cessation of Hyderabad as the capital of Andhra Pradesh marks a watershed moment in the state’s history. The transition highlights the challenges and complexities involved in establishing a new administrative center. As Andhra Pradesh moves forward, the decision regarding its new capital will play a crucial role in shaping its political, economic, and social landscape.

On June 2, Hyderabad ceased to be the capital of Andhra Pradesh, as stipulated by the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014. This significant transition marks the end of Hyderabad serving as a joint capital for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. As of now, Andhra Pradesh has no designated capital, a situation that the upcoming Assembly elections on June 4 will address, potentially deciding between Amaravati, the choice of former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, and Jagan Mohan Reddy’s three-city plan.

 The Historical Context

The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014 was a pivotal piece of legislation resulting from a prolonged struggle for a separate Telangana state. This Act led to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, creating Telangana as the 29th state of India. Under Section 5(1) of the Act, Hyderabad was designated as the common capital for both states for a period not exceeding ten years from June 2, 2014. Section 5(2) stipulated that after this period, Hyderabad would become the sole capital of Telangana, necessitating the establishment of a new capital for Andhra Pradesh.

3,500+ Andhra Pradesh Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock  | Andhra pradesh city, Andhra pradesh map, Andhra pradesh coast

The Capital Conundrum

As of June 2, 2024, Hyderabad officially became only the capital of Telangana. The change left Andhra Pradesh without a capital, leading to a period of uncertainty and speculation about the state’s administrative future. Initially, former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu proposed Amaravati as the new capital, envisioning it as a world-class city. His government even began acquiring land, pooling around 33,000 acres from villages in Guntur and NTR (formerly Krishna) districts. In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for Amaravati, signaling a significant step towards its development as the state’s new capital.

However, political dynamics shifted in 2019 when YSR Congress’ Jagan Mohan Reddy assumed power. He dismissed the Amaravati plan and proposed a decentralized three-capital model: an executive capital in Visakhapatnam, a legislative capital in Amaravati, and a judicial capital in Kurnool. This proposal aimed to address the historical and regional complexities of Andhra Pradesh by fostering balanced development across different areas.

How to spend 24 hours in Hyderabad | Condé Nast Traveller India | India |  Culture

 The Three-Capital Proposal

Jagan Mohan Reddy’s three-capital plan was rooted in the idea of equitable development. By distributing administrative functions across Visakhapatnam, Amaravati, and Kurnool, the plan sought to avoid concentrating resources and development in a single location. Professor H. Lajipathi Rai, chairman of the Joint Action Committee for Decentralized Administration, articulated this vision, emphasizing the need for a multi-capital approach to foster growth in backward regions of the state.

Despite the strategic rationale, the three-capital proposal faced significant opposition and legal hurdles. The Andhra Pradesh High Court ordered the state government to proceed with developing Amaravati as the capital, as initially planned under the previous TDP government. This judicial intervention underscored the contentious nature of the capital issue and highlighted the complexities involved in transitioning administrative functions.

Implications of Hyderabad’s Transition

With Hyderabad no longer serving as the capital, Andhra Pradesh has faced logistical and administrative challenges. Until now, Andhra utilized Hyderabad for various administrative functions, including parts of the Secretariat complex and the Lake View government guest house, which served as the camp office for the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister. Now, these buildings will come under the control of Telangana.

The shift has also raised issues regarding the further distribution of government assets. According to The Hindu, Andhra Pradesh had written to Telangana in January, seeking permission to retain certain buildings and offered to pay rent until securing permanent accommodation. However, the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct for the elections delayed discussions on this matter.

Additionally, Telangana is expected to take possession of over 55 buildings from Andhra Pradesh, located in prime areas of Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The ninth schedule of the Reorganisation Act lists 89 government corporations and companies, such as AP Seeds Corporation and AP Women’s Finance Corporation, which need bifurcation. Similarly, the tenth schedule includes 107 training institutions and centers, like Telugu University and Hindi Academy, which also require division between the two states.

 The Path Forward

As the state gears up for the Assembly elections, the future of Andhra Pradesh’s capital remains a significant electoral issue. The elections will decide whether the state will adopt Chandrababu Naidu’s vision of a singular, world-class capital in Amaravati or embrace Jagan Mohan Reddy’s three-capital model aimed at regional development.

How Chandrababu Naidu is manoeuvring to regain his lost influence - The Week

During his campaign, Reddy reiterated his commitment to the three-capital plan, emphasizing the designation of Visakhapatnam as the executive capital and expressing his intent to hold his swearing-in ceremony there if re-elected. This plan represents a broader strategy to integrate various regions of Andhra Pradesh into the state’s developmental framework, thereby mitigating regional disparities.

The cessation of Hyderabad as the capital of Andhra Pradesh marks a watershed moment in the state’s history. The transition highlights the challenges and complexities involved in establishing a new administrative center. As Andhra Pradesh moves forward, the decision regarding its new capital will play a crucial role in shaping its political, economic, and social landscape. The  elections  not only determine the administrative headquarters but also set the course for the state’s future development and regional integration. The outcome will reflect the public’s preference between a singular, centralized capital and a decentralized, multi-capital approach aimed at inclusive growth.

READ MORE : Amidst Speculations, Modi Receives Officially Written Support by Nitish Kumar & Chandrababu Naidu to Form the Central Govt.