Andhra Pradesh Municipal Administration Minister Botsa Satyanarayana has once again stoked controversy over the issue of Amaravati as capital of Andhra Pradesh.

True to his style, he did it again on Thursday evening, saying that the expert panel constituted by the State government willtour the State and ascertain the public opinion on the location of the capital and how the projects in Amaravati should be taken forward.

It has led to widespread speculation in the media that the State government might shift the capital from Amaravati. The Chief Minister, YS Jaganmohan Reddy, has not uttered a word on the subject, and his silence is further fuelling speculation.

The Union Government during the TDP regime sanctioned ₹1,500 crore for the capital over five years and the YSR Congress after assuming charge a few months ago has not even asked the Centre for funds to develop Amaravati. The Chief Minister during the election campaign and even after getting elected with a massive majority said repeatedly that Amaravati “is a huge fraud perpetrated by the TDP Government with the proxies of the former CM indulging in a sort of insider trading.”

Under the circumstances, it is anybody’s guess what will happen to Amaravati in the times to come. Real estate has crashed in Amaravati and farmers who gave up 33,000 acres of land for the capital are a worried lot. There is, however, some solace for them, as Botsa Satyanarayana clearly stated that all the commitments given to the farmers in the area by the previous government would be honoured and they need not worry on that count.

The TDP, BJP, Congress, Communist and Janasena leaders in the State have spoken against any move to shift the capital from Amaravati. Several of them have made demands, especially the TDP leaders, urging the Chief Minister to speak up on the subject and bring the curtains down on the controversy.