A day after State Urban Development Minister B Satyanarayana triggered a political row in the State with his comments on the new capital of Andhra Pradesh being in “a flood-prone area”, leaders of the ruling YSR Congress went into damage control mode. On Wednesday, several of them denied that there was any plan to shift the capital from Amaravati.

Satyanarayana clarified later in TV interviews that he did not say anything about shifting the capital but only remarked that “the Amaravati area is flood-prone and therefore the construction cost of the capital is going up two-fold. If the media chooses to draw the inference from my remarks that the capital may be shifted, or indulges in speculation, it is the media’s prerogative. I can’t be held responsible.” YSR Congress party representative, A Rambabu, said at Tadepalli in Guntur district that the Minister had issued a clarification and his remarks should not be read out of context. “ Amaravati is a flood-prone area, a fact known to all, repeated again by Satyanarayana. The Sivaramakrishnan Committee stated specifically that the area is not suitable for capital construction and the Chandrababu Naidu government ignored the recommendation and went ahead with it.”

Vijayasai Reddy, Rajya Sabha member of the party, in New Delhi, said: “Have we said anything about shifting the capital from Amaravati? Amaravati area is flood-prone and the danger comes from not only from Krishna floods, but Kondaveeti Vagu (a rivulet) as well,” he said.

D Umamaheswara Rao, senior Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader and former State Irrigation Minister, said at a media conference in Vijayawada that “the actions of the YSR Congress leaders speak for themselves. They seem to be bent on shifting the capital from Amaravati.”

He recalled that that the YSR Congress, then in the Opposition, had supported a resolution on the location of the capital when it was debated in the Assembly.

“All the parties supported it (in 2014) and now how can the YSR Congress go back on such a crucial issue? All works have been stopped at Amaravati and real estate prices have crashed. Farmers who gave 33,000 acres of land for the new capital are at their wits’ end. The ministers are making irresponsible statements on the issue,,” he alleged.