HYDERABAD: Chief ministers of the two Telugu-speaking states, N Chandrababu Naidu and K Chandrasekhar Rao, who appear to be generously copying each other’s welfare schemes and other development programmes, made similar statements on the issue of extending reservations to other sections of society, indicating that both will use this ‘controversial’ issue to consolidate their party’s positions in their respective states, in the coming days.
Though it is not immediately possible to widen reservations to provide its benefits to more sections of people as per the wishes of Naidu and KCR against the backdrop of Supreme Court’s earlier verdict, which categorically specified that total reservations quota should not exceed 50 per cent, both of them appear to have decided to use this issue as a ‘main plank’ to widen their party’s base in their respective states. While delivering their speeches on the occasion of Independence Day in their respective states, both Naidu and KCR, for one more time expressed their wishes to bring more number of people under ‘reserved’ category to make them avail special benefits in employment and education sectors.
Naidu said besides making efforts to accord BC status for Kapus, a promise made by his party during last general polls, his government is committed to provide reservations even to the poor people among the forward castes in the state. “Our government will introduce more number of welfare schemes for SCs and BCs in the coming days,” he added.
Similarly, KCR said his government would soon take steps to increase the quota for both Muslims and STs in the state so as to provide them 12 per cent reservations in employment and education sectors in accordance with their population ratio in the state. Naidu and KCR had already successfully launched a ‘demolition drive’ to dismantle opposition parties in their respective states, by engineering defections from other parties. Now, by harping on ‘reservations’ slogan, the two leaders appear to have started taking steps to keep their parties in their respective states in power for a longer period.
But, the promises made by these two chief ministers on extending reservations to more sections are drawing flak from the opposition parties.
“Naidu is trying to hoodwink people of all sections with his promise of extending reservations even to the economically backward people in forward castes, which is impractical without amending the Constitution. It is a game plan by Naidu to derive political mileage from the issue,” APCC spokesperson N Tulasi Reddy told Express.
Similarly, Telangana Congress veteran V Hanumantha Rao too ridiculed KCR’s proposal to provide 12 per cent reservations to Muslims and STs, saying, “KCR very well knows that the issue is not in his hands as it is the Union government, which has to amend the Constitution, if total reservations’ quota exceeds 50 per cent. Even then, he made this promise only to deceive Muslims and STs.”