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Monday, Aug 26, 2019

Kapu quota demand back to fore in Andhra, ex-MP writes to Jagan Reddy

Padmanabham, a former four-time MLA, spearheaded massive agitations, including the violent one in East Godavari district in January 2016 when agitators set fire to the Ratnachal Express.

india Updated: Jul 09, 2019 19:57 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
East Godavari: Agitators belonging to the Kapu caste set fire to Ratnachal Express when it halted at Tuni railway station in East Godavari district in 2016
East Godavari: Agitators belonging to the Kapu caste set fire to Ratnachal Express when it halted at Tuni railway station in East Godavari district in 2016(PTI)
         

The demand for reservations to the politically crucial Kapu community under OBC category in education and employment that rocked Andhra Pradesh before the recent assembly elections has once again come to the fore.

Former MP Mudragada Padmanabham, who had been fighting for inclusion of Kapus in the OBC list for the last two decades, on Tuesday wrote a letter to YSR Congress party president and chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy demanding that the new government take up the cause of the community.

Padmanabham, a former four-time MLA, spearheaded massive agitations, including the violent one at Tuni in East Godavari district in January 2016 when the agitators set fire to Visakhpatnam-bound Ratnachal Express, demanding reservations to Kapu community.

In his letter, the Kapu leader explained that the previous Telugu Desam Party government headed by N Chandrababu Naidu had betrayed the Kapus by failing to provide 10 per cent reservations to them as promised in the TDP manifesto during 2014 elections.

“Naidu had crushed the Kapu agitation using brutal police force and humiliated the community. In order to appease the community, he got a Kapu reservation bill passed in assembly and washed his hands of by forwarding the same to the centre,” Padmanabham said.

Just before the recent assembly elections, he included Kapus under economically backward classes (EBC) introduced by the Narendra Modi government and provided five per cent quota to Kapus under this category. “But so far, even this EBC reservation has not been implemented for Kapus in any institution or jobs,” Padmanabham said.

He said that during the recent assembly elections, Kapus had voted in large numbers in favour of YSRCP, with a hope that Jagan Mohan Reddy would resolve the long-pending issue of Kapu reservations.

“The Kapus kept aside another political party (Jana Sena Party floated by actor Pawan Kalyan) belonging to Kapu community and voted for YSRCP. I hope you will reciprocate the support extended by Kapus,” he said.

A politically strong community in Andhra, Kapus and their affiliated caste groups like Balijas, Telagas and Ontaris, constitute 15.2 per cent of the total population in the state. While they are spread all over the state, East and West Godavari districts are considered as strongholds of the Kapus.

During the recent elections, there were apprehensions in the YSRCP that Pawan Kalyan, who is a Kapu, will split the community votes, but they voted largely in favour of the Jagan Reddy led outfit. The party winning 27 out of 34 seats in East and West Godavari districts is a proof of this.

Though Jagan did not make any commitment on Kapu reservations during his poll campaign, he declared that he would make all out effort to uplift the community. He also made a Kapu leader a deputy chief minister in his cabinet.

First Published: Jul 09, 2019 19:20 IST

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