Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has stirred the proverbial hornet’s nest with his comment on the possibility of having three capitals for the State — one at Amaravati, another at Kurnool and the third at Visakhapatnam.

The announcement in the Assembly has been generally received negatively, though its backers have hailed the decision to set up the High Court in Kurnool and the people of Visakhapatnam and north-coastal districts have expressed their happiness about having the administrative capital in the city.

There was outrage in Amaravati with farmers and others staging demonstrations on Wednesday. “It is a Tughlaq decision,” commented former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. “Even Mohammed bin Tughlaq was more sensible than Jagan.”

“Decentralisation does not mean cutting up the capital into three pieces and having it in each region of the State,” remarked Atcham Naidu, senior TDP leader.

“The CM is irresponsibly inciting regional feelings with his comments,” said Y Ramakrishnudu, another senior TDP leader and former Finance Minister.

Of course, there are some States in the country having two capitals, like Maharashtra, one summer capital and one winter capital. But three capitals for a State is unheard of in the country. But Jaganmohan Reddy has cited the example of South Africa.

Many BJP leaders, including GVL Narasimha Rao and TG Venkatesh, welcomed the move to set up the High Court in Kurnool, but they were against the idea of three capitals.

Of course, it may be recalled by old-timers that Kurnool was the first capital of Andhra State from 1953 to 1956 and Hyderabad became the capital only after the greater Andhra was formed in 1956 by merging Telangana and Andhra and Rayalaseema.

‘A crazy decision’

In all the sound and fury that followed the CM’s statement, one thing has become abundantly clear: he wants to reduce the importance of Amaravati at any cost, shifting the Secretariat to Visakhapatnam and the High Court to Kurnool. Only the Assembly is likely to remain in Amaravati.

Janasena leader and film star Pawan Kalyan called it a crazy decision. “We do not have funds to build one capital and the CM wants three. It defies logic,” he said.