Speculation is rife in Andhra Pradesh over the name of its new capital that will come up in Guntur district, even as the Chandrababu Naidu government struggles for funds.
According to sources, the capital could be named Amaravati or it could be christened after the late chief minister, NT Rama Rao.
While some TDP leaders are in favour of naming the capital after NT Rama Rao -- their iconic founder who promoted the “Telugu pride” and popularised the Telugu identity -- non-political opinion favours Amaravati.
Amaravati, a village near the proposed location on the bank of river Krishna, is a pilgrim centre with the famous Amareswara Swamy temple – one of the Pancharama kshetras as per the Shaivite tradition in the country. The area with its ancient stupas and viharas is also a popular Buddhist centre.
The first mighty empire in the Andhra region – of the Satavahanas was centred here from 200 BC to 300 AD by the name Dhanyakataka (present Dharanikota).
It was a major centre through the millennia under the Kakatiya and the later Vijayanagara empires and was part of the Madras presidency under the British.
“True that NTR was an iconic Telugu leader but it would be ideal to keep the capital name apolitical. Amaravati with its vast history and glory would be the apt name for the new capital and its bright future,” says Yelamanchi Syam Kumar, an entrepreneur from Vijayawada.
Opinion within the ruling TDP is also divided.
“My political growth is because of NTR so personally I would like the capital to be named after him,” KE Krishna Murthy, the deputy chief minster, tells HT.
However, there is no official word yet. Naidu, as of now, seems is more bothered about the execution of the project for which he has partnered with Singapore and is also looking to his ally PM Narendra Modi for a generous financial support. Naidu is visiting Singapore soon to finalise a master plan for the core capital area.