Even as the stir for Samaikyandhra turned vociferous, elite sections of the city have articulated the demand for naming Ongole as the capital of Seemandhra in the event of formation of Telangana State by the Centre.

“The recently upgraded Municipal Corporation is the gateway to Rayalaseema and equidistant from different corners of the State. Hence the district, formed by bringing together parts of erstwhile districts of Kurnool, Nellore and Guntur, is best suited to be the next capital if bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh becomes inevitable,” they echoed during a brain-storming discussion held to deal with the emerging situation.

Forum for Good Governance secretary Shamsheer Ahamad, a retired Additional Joint-Collector, felt that “separation has come to stay. It will be wise on our part to press for safeguards for Seemandhra people living in Hyderabad and liberal compensation to develop our own capital and the region which has been a victim of lopsided development”.

Indian Medical Association Ongole Chapter president Ch. Chalamaiah felt that political pressure should be exerted to name Ongole as the State capital. It should be developed on a war footing without cost and time overruns, the oldest ophthalmologist of Ongole added.

Local Election Watch president M. Nageswara Rao opined that Hyderabad-centric development had proved to be a bane for Seemandhra people. Ongole should be developed on the lines of Chandigarh known for its city planning, he said.

YSR Congress party district official spokesman Bathula Brahmananda Reddy said: “A huge chunk of 80,000 acres of government land is available in and around Ongole to build the capital from the beginning.” It would be appropriate to locate the capital in the centre of the new State instead of either in extreme north (Visakhapatnam) or south (Tirupati), where the land prices were also too high, he added.

Noted farmers leader Ch. Ranga Rao said the district named after Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu comprised parts of erstwhile Kurnool district, the capital of Andhra State formed in 1953 from composite Madras State. Ongole as capital would be preferred by the people of Rayalaseema as also neighbouring Nellore and Guntur districts than far away Visakhapatnam, he observed.

He opposed the Rayalaseema leaders’ proposal for a Greater Rayalaseema by including Prakasam district in it. “How can they make such a proposal without consultations with Prakasam people,” he asked. BJP Andhra Udhima Committee chairman Bathina Narasimha Rao felt the time was ripe for developing Seemandhra region which had suffered due to Hyderabad-centric development. Andhra Pradesh Mahila Abhyudhaya Samiti president T. Aruna said that Telangana leaders should agree to give back Bhadrachalam to Andhra. Forum president Alla Venkateswara Rao moderated the discussion.