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Will Rayalaseema leaders have the final word on the new capital of residual AP?
Whoever may be in a place to form the first government in the residual state of Andhra Pradesh, leaders from Rayalaseema are bound to play a decisive role in shaping the future of residual Andhra Pradesh state. As leaders from this region are leading many political parties, except BJP, they are likely to make some important moves in the first government of the state to be formed on June 2. Their attitude on number of crucial issues like a new capital city is likely to be sensitive for the remaining districts of the region.

At the time of formation of Andhra Pradesh also, Rayalaseema leaders played decisive role in Congress party during mid-50s. Dr Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy was the first chief minister when Andhra Pradesh was formed in 1956. Even, he was responsible for making Kurnool as capital of Andhra State, when it was formed in 1953, bifurcating Madras. 

During the last 58 years of the existence of Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema leaders were chief ministers for about 40 years. They have proved that political leadership need not play a crucial role in the development of a region, as the region remained a most backward region of Andhra Pradesh. Dr N Sanjeeva Reddy and Kotla Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy became chief minister’s twice. 

The lone dalit Chief Minister Damodaram Sanjeevaiah also hails from this region. In recent period, N Chandrababu Naidu, Dr Y S Rajasekahra Reddy and N Kiran Kumar Reddy headed the government from this region for quite a long time.

Presently, when the state is dividing again, accidentally all the key political players are from this region. The newly constituted Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee President N Raghuveera Reddy hails from Rayalaseema region. TDP President Chandrababu Naidu, YSR Congress party President YS Jaganmohan Reddy, Jai Samaikyandhra Party president Kiran Kumar Reddy and CPI state secretary K Narayana all belong to this region only. CPM state secretary P Madhu is from neighbouring Nellore district. Only BJP state president K Hari Babu hails from Visakhapatnam, north coastal city. 

Ahead of the bifurcation of the state, number of leaders from Rayalaseema region have been agitating for a separate state calling it `Greater Rayalaseema’, including Nellore and Prakasam districts, besides four districts of Rayalaseema, namely Anantapur, Kurnool, Kadapah and Chittoor. They insisted that if at all the state is to be divided that should be into three states, but not two.

Even during the period of bifurcation, leaders like Byreddy Rajasekhara Reddy and T G Venkatesh openly demanded that the new capital should be in Kurnool.

But geographically, Kurnool remains in one corner of the state and closer to Telangana’s capital Hyderabad, than coastal districts. Political observers suspecting that these leaders are now keeping silent on the new capital with an idea they would have upper hand in this matter. Former union minister and Tirupati MP Chintha Mohan is now demanding that Tirupati should be made as the capital as that will be central place for both coastal and Rayalaseema region.

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Vibhav Kant Upadhyay
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