YSRCP MP visits Amaravati farmers, asks to negotiate

YSRCP MP visits Amaravati farmers, asks them to negotiate with government

In the bills Jagan brought to shift the executive and form three capitals, this annuity was extended for another five years

Sources said he was sent as an emissary to help the government overcome the hurdle. (Credit: Facebook Photo/@SriKrishnaLavu)

A YSRCP member of Parliament visited the Amaravati farmers’ protest encampment on Friday, expressing solidarity but soliciting them to negotiate with the government.

The appearance of Lavu Sri Krishna Devarayalu at Mandadam, Velagapudi villages is seen as indicative of a gentler shift in Jaganmohan Reddy government’s approach to the locals’ agitation against capital shift. No YSRCP leader has reportedly visited these farmers till now.

For the past one and half months, the 29 villages of the capital area are under a heavy police cordon with Section 144 in place. Attempts to take out protest rallies were met with baton charge and detentions on some days, further agitating the locals and allowing TDP to portray Jagan as anti-farmers.

“CM Jagan is pro-farmers. We understand your attachment with your land and your agitation. We would not let any injustice come upon you,” said Devarayalu, representing nearby Narasaraopet in Guntur district, addressing locals who sat on a hunger strike.

“If the government forms a mechanism, a committee to register your concerns, please talk to them,” Devarayulu further said, provoking questions if Jagan government is thinking of forming another committee to specifically hear out the Amaravati villagers.

Speaking to DH later, the young MP said that he was only asking the farmers and other locals to be open minded, in case such a committee is formed. “Since they appear to be confrontative with government, I suggested that a dialogue could break the ice and help address their issues.”

Devarayulu did not explicitly say if Jagan’s machinery is pondering a negotiation process. “I visited them on my own accord, no one in the party or government asked me to,” the Lok Sabha MP told DH.

But the MP's visit came a day after he met Jagan. Sources said he was sent as an emissary to help the government overcome the hurdle. The capital shifting is also challenged in the AP high court, which directed the state not to proceed, posting the matter to February 26.

The locals seem not convinced. “When the local YSRCP MLAs are not bothered, this diplomacy of a MP from neighboring constituency is nothing but a drama. He appears to be asking us to compromise and negotiate. We are resolute in our Amaravati as the sole capital demand,” said a farmer from Mandadam.

In 2015, farmers of Amaravati villages gave 33,000 acres fertile lands, thereby surrendering their primary livelihood, for the then Chandrababu Naidu government’s plan of a world class capital. In return, they were provided annuity (in lieu of farm income) for 10 years and developed real estate plots. Farmers fear their plots would be worthless without such capital setup.