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Cabinet Rejig, Rain Fury, New Districts--AP Saw It All In 2022

A rejig of the state Council of ministers, main political parties holding their conventions after quite a gap

Bharat Jodo Yatra in Andhra Pradesh
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A rejig of the state Council of ministers, main political parties holding their conventions after quite a gap, at least a dozen IAS officers being sentenced to jail in different contempt of court cases, though the sentences were subsequently suspended, bountiful rains leaving major rivers swollen for a couple of months--Andhra Pradesh saw it all in 2022.

Government employees and teachers were on a warpath demanding better wages, while a stampede at a TDP meeting left 8 dead in December.

For the third year in a row, uncertainty prevailed over the state's capital, though the High Court delivered a judgment in favour of Amaravati.

Year-2022 could have been no less eventful but Andhra Pradesh suffered from apparent fund crunch.

The Centre and the Comptroller and Auditor General pointed out at the "gross financial mismanagement."

The year began with lakhs of government employees and teachers taking to the streets demanding wage revision and restoration of the old pension scheme.

Though the government managed to broker a deal by offering a fitment of 23.29 per cent and simultaneously increasing the retirement age from 60 to 62 years, the staff were not altogether pacified as the contributory pension scheme remained the main unfulfilled promise.

Owing to the state's financial woes, monetary benefits were not only stalled but also the GPF money from the employees' accounts was withdrawn by the government, leaving the employees and teachers red-faced.

In March, the High Court delivered a far-reaching judgement, annulling the Jagan Mohan Reddy government's move to establish three capitals for the state and directing that Amaravati be developed in line with the Master Plan.

The state government challenged the High Court verdict in the Supreme Court.

As the legal battle continued, the fate of Amaravati as the state's sole capital hung in balance.

The government, however, went ahead with decentralisation plan by carving out 13 new districts, adding to the existing 13, that came into being on Telugu New Year’s Day- Ugadi- on April 4.

There were subdued protests initially in different parts of the state over the reorganisation of districts but overall the exercise was successfully completed.

However, the renaming of the new Konaseema district a couple of months after its formation triggered arson in Amalapuram town, leading to the burning down of a minister and an MLA's residences. But that protest too evaporated in no time.

The state Council of Ministers was reconstituted in April, five months later than the due date set by Chief Minister Reddy. Though the CM initially announced that 90 per cent of the incumbent ministers would be replaced, at least 40 per cent were retained owing to possible caste calculations.

The Cabinet rejig, however, sparked off a rebellion in the YSR Congress as sulking senior leaders openly vented their frustration, prompting Reddy to quell the rebellion.

After the cabinet reshuffle, Reddy revamped the YSRC organisation as well by making several disgruntled former ministers presidents of the party district units, while some were made "regional coordinators."

But, at least seven district presidents and regional coordinators were replaced within six months due to fissures in the party district units.

The Telugu film industry found itself at the receiving end as the AP government significantly slashed the cinema ticket prices and also sought to take over the sale through a state-run web portal.

The High Court stalled the online sale process while the industry bigwigs, led by actor K Chiranjeevi, held discussions with the Chief Minister following which the ticket rates were enhanced.

Political heat was generated in mid-summer when the principal opposition Telugu Desam Party conducted its annual conclave Mahanadu after a three-year gap.

The unexpected response to Mahanadu brought a new spirit to the TDP rank and file and forced the ruling YSR Congress to alter its strategies.

With growing discontent among people over its rule becoming apparent, the YSRC pushed its elected representatives to undertake a door-to-door mass contact programme under the government’s patronage.

The Chief Minister and the YSRC president himself toured the districts to maintain touch with people.

Reddy faced a major embarrassment when the Election Commission of India set aside his election – at the party's plenary session in July – as "president for lifetime" of the YSRC.

This, after his mother Y S Vijayalakshmi stepped down as honorary president of the party to side with her daughter Y S Sharmila, exposing the ongoing strife in the family.

Sharmila floated her own party YSR Telangana in the neighbouring Telugu state.

The state suffered heavily due to massive rains and floods in rivers Godavari, Krishna and Pennar between July and September.

Worst hit were thousands of families in the Polavaram project submergence areas in the Godavari bed as tens of villages remained under a sheet of water for many weeks.

The flood fury in river Krishna resulted in the loss of more than 400 tmc ft of water, which had to be wastefully drained out into the Bay of Bengal.

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The Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam, one of the key strategic bases of the Indian Navy, played host to the President’s Fleet Review, followed by the biennial Multilateral Naval Exercise MILAN-2022.

These two prestigious events gave the much-needed boost to tourism in the port city, post-Covid-19 pandemic, while enhancing the glory of the ENC.

Tragedy stuck the state in December when 8 persons were killed in a stampede at a roadshow organised by TDP supremo and Leader of Opposition, N Chandrababu Naidu in Nellore district.

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