TUNI: Addressing Kapu Ikya Garjana attended by lakhs of Kapus in a coconut grove on the outskirts of Tuni town, Mudragada for 16 minutes explained the genesis of the Kapu agitation for reservations and put forth the action plan to achieve it. A majority of the agitators were youth and looked all charged up.
“Our elders say that Kapus were part of BCs during British era. Since 1910 to 1956, Kapus were part of BCs and in 1956, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy had made them OCs.
However, in 1961, stating that Kapus are economically backward and there is need for reservation to them, the then Chief Minister Damodaram Sanjeevaiah issued a GO including them in BC list. It continued till 1966, when the then Chief Minister K Brahmananda Reddy again removed Kapus from BC list,” he said.
Since 1966, Kapus have suffered and various agitations have not yielded results and they were left bereft of several opportunities in education and employment, he said. “In 1993, when Kapu leaders including A Ramakrishna and M Vishnu had led a protest rally and sought to give a representation to the then chief minister Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar, they were lathi-charged and the entire Kapu community had felt insulted,” he said.
According to him, it was that insult, that had made him quit the MLA post and join the Kapu agitation. Mass protest rallies were taken out, cycle rallies were held and even rail roko was staged, but there was no response from the government.
“But, unfortunately, Congress party which had given the GO, had failed to come back to power and the next government had not honoured the GO issued by the previous government. Chandrababu Naidu at that time through another person petitioned against the GO.
Though High Court Full Bench in its verdict said the GO No 30 was issued as per the Constitutional Guidelines and should be implemented, but government had not respected the verdict,” he explained.
Mudragada Padmanabham blamed Chandrababu Naidu for the backwardness of Kapus and said when he was only trying to remind the Kapu community of the unkept promises, Naidu was trying to divert the attention of the people in different ways.
Kapu leader said that, when he decided to agitate for the right of Kapu community, he received phone calls from several people extending their support and explaining how they had suffered due to lack of reservations. “If there are reservations, we too can become doctors, engineers, collectors and SPs,” he said.
Accusing Chandrababu Naidu of playing vote bank politics during the Assembly elections to ensure he gets to the powers, as the Kapu community makes 27 percent of the state’s’ population post bifurcation, Mudragada demanded to know what happened to the promises made by the TDP chief during run up to elections - of including Kapus in BC list and sanctioning Rs 1000 crore per year for economic development of Kapus.
“He (Chandrababu Naidu) said he will see Kapus are included among BCs in six months after his government forms, but it has been 18 months and there has been no development in that direction.
It was that delay and reluctance to keep the promises made, which has forced us to take up agitation path. It was those unkept promises, that have brought all of us here today. It is time to make the lies of Chandrababu Naidu true,” he said.
When Mudragada said he will lead the agitation from front and not rest until Kapus are included among BC, the entire area reverberated with thunderous applause. Accusing Chandrababu Naidu’s Government of trying to create obstacles to the meeting by denying school buses, RTC buses, place to cook, interrupting power and drinking water supply, he said it was time to decide.
“It is time to confront and I want you to travel with me and not rest till our goal - implementation of GOs to include Kapus among BCs. Our action plans starts right now. - Let’s block roads and railways and not leave till our goal is achieved,” he said and the agitation begun.