Is BJP planning to make Hyderabad the second capital of India?

charminar Representational image | via Commons

Land prices on the outskirts of Hyderabad has witnessed a sudden spike in the last few months. Increasing the chances of prices going further high is a new pitch that is on the lips of some real estate agents dealing with properties in and around Hyderabad. “Hyderabad can be the second capital of the country. Once it becomes a reality, the property prices will shoot up,” said a real estate broker who deals with open plots and flats in the western part of Greater Hyderabad.

The buzz has gained traction in the last few days, putting the buyers in a dilemma. Since this speculation has the potential to disturb the market, there are some builders who feel that all stakeholders have to make sure that housing does not become unaffordable in the city.

“I am not sure if Hyderabad will be the second capital or if it is just a rumour. Hyderabad’s USP is its affordable land prices. The market is doing well but the government, think tanks and the industry has to chalk out a plan to make sure that real estate prices are under check and the development is uniform. Any new decision to set up important offices in the city will be a value addition,” said Shekar Reddy, former president of Confederation of Real Estate Development Association of India.

Now, is this a mere speculation? Leaders across the political spectrum have reasons to believe that the BJP has started focusing on Telangana, particularly Hyderabad, and is looking into the proposal of a second capital.

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The proposal was first put forward by late B.R. Ambedkar in his book, 'Thoughts on Linguistic States’, published in 1955. Ambedkar stressed the need for Hyderabad as second capital of the country in chapter 11, to bridge the north-south divide.

“This is nothing but mischievous and malicious attempt by some people. Hyderabad is an integral part of Telangana. There is no truth to it,” said BJP general secretary K. Muralidhar Rao.

“The party has not taken a line yet,” said Telangana BJP president, K. Laxman. “There should be a thorough study done on this proposal. As a party president, I want a debate on this proposal. The discussion will also be on what will happen to Telangana?”

In case of a surprise move by the saffron party, the ruling TRS party is very clear about what is not acceptable to them. “There is no way TRS will accept Hyderabad as a union territory,” said former TRS MP B. Vinod Kumar. “Since I am not sure if there is a proposal and if it being considered, I cannot comment at this stage. But, we have always opposed the idea of Hyderabad as union territory, even during bifurcation. Hyderabad cannot survive on its own without support from Telangana as even water to the city comes from rest of the Telangana region.”

Congress leaders welcome the idea of Hyderabad as second capital of the country. In the last general elections, Congress MP from Malkajgiri which is in Greater Hyderabad, A. Revanth Reddy had vocally supported the idea during his election campaign. “The polarisation of south and north is increasing and to integrate India, there is a need for a capital in south India.” said All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson Shravan Dasoju. “If Hyderabad is chosen as the capital, then the sustenance model has to be discussed.”

Former Telangana activist and president of Telangana Jana Samithi M. Kodandaram said, “If a Supreme Court bench is set up here, we will welcome it. We won't have any problem if central government offices are set up here. But if there is any plan to make Hyderabad as union territory, we will get ready for agitation. Telangana is entirely dependent on Hyderabad for revenue and we will not allow any proposal to divide the state.”