The opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has accused the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh of hatching a conspiracy to shift the state capital from Amaravati by projecting it as a flood-prone area, a charge denied by the ruling YSRC.
Fresh political acrimony broke out with TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu seeking an explanation from the government and the Congress seconding it as opaque statements of YSRC leaders triggered doubts over the government's intentions on the development of the capital city.
YSRC spokesman and MLA Ambati Rambabu, however, denied any move to relocate the capital.
"We never spoke about shifting the capital. Even in our (election) manifesto, we neither opposed nor approved Amaravati," Rambabu told a press conference on Wednesday.
It all started with state Municipal Administration Minister Botsa Satyanarayana on Tuesday saying in Visakhapatnam that Amaravati was prone to flooding and lot of canals and bunds have to be built to protect it from submergence.
"The construction costs are also double the normal in Amaravati because of the nature of the land. All these will only put an extra burden on the state and the people," he had said.
Botsa also cited the report of the Centre-appointed expert committee of (late) Sivarama Krishnan that had said Amaravati region was not suitable for the capital. The minister added the issue was being discussed thoroughly in the government and an announcement on the capital would be made soon.
But he remained evasive on whether the capital would be shifted to another place. YSRC Parliamentary party leader V Vijayasai Reddy also spoke on similar lines on Wednesday. Taking exception to this, Naidu said hundreds of farmers had 'voluntarily' given 33,000 acres of their land for capital development.
"But the present government is projecting Amaravati as a flood-prone region in a conspiratorial manner to relocate the capital," he alleged.
Former ministers of the TDP DU Rao and Paritala Sunita denounced the reported move to shift the capital from Amaravati and demanded that the Chief Minister come clean with an explanation on this.
The Congress also expressed doubts over the government's intentions in the wake of the Municipal Ministers comments on the capital.APCC vice-president N Tulasi Reddy pointed out that the ministers claim only exposed the government's intentions.
"Botsas remarks, at a time when the Chief Minister is on a foreign trip, has created a lot of confusion among people.
The government should come out with a clear statement on the capital and also whether it will return the 33,000 acres taken from farmers," Tulasi Reddy demanded.