AP politics to rally around quota for Kapus

AP politics to rally around quota for Kapus

YSRCP chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy at the Jaggampet public meeting

With Assembly elections less than a year away, the issue of reservations for the ‘Kapu’ community, which constitutes 27% of the population in Andhra Pradesh, has become a deciding factor for the all major political parties.

The Leader of the Opposition Y S Jaganmohan Reddy had said in Jaggampet that he will not be able to implement reservations for Kapus even if he comes into power as the matter is not in the hands of the state government. But Jagan said he would double the corpus fund for Kapu Welfare Corporation from Rs 5000 crore.

While Jagan’s candid statement in East Godavari district, considered the heartland of the Kapu community, has shocked Kapu leaders in the YSR Congress, Kapu leader and former MP Mudragada Padmanabhan, who has been fighting for 10% reservation for his community, termed Jagan’s statement as a betrayal.

“If reservations are in the hands of the Centre, why is Jagan fighting for special category status, special railway zone and Kadapa steel factory, why not reservations,” Padmanabhan wondered.

For the ruling TDP, which is under severe political pressure for taking a U-turn on the Special Category Status for the state, the volte-face by Jagan was manna from heaven.

The TDP had not only included the Kapu reservation issue in its 2014 election manifesto but saw to it that the Assembly unanimously passed a bill in December last year, providing 5% reservation for Kapus in government jobs and educational institutions. The bill was sent to the Centre for approval. The NDA government has not yet given the green signal.

The Janasena party, founded by actor Pawan Kalyan, a Kapu, is being cautious.

Kalyan said he will be appointing an expert committee to look into the issue. Sources in his party say that their leader doesn’t want to give an impression to the general public that Janasena is a Kapu party.

“We need votes from all castes, don’t want to be branded as a Kapu party, the reason why Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam failed in the first place,” a Janasena leader observed.

The total reservations in the state will exceed the 50% cap fixed by the Supreme Court if the Kapu quota is added. The state government’s move was based on the recommendations of the Justice Manjunatha Committee, which examined the demand of Kapus and suggested a 5% quota for the Kapu community.