TUNI: A new political battle-front has opened up for AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu with Kapu Ikya Garjana called by former minister Mudragada Padmanabham, seeking BC status to Kapus here turning violent on Sunday. The sudden turn of events has clearly caught the ruling TDP off-guard as they and the police had expected the meeting would end peacefully.
When the situation went out of control, the CM asked the DGP to send additional forces to the town to control the mobs.
On the political front, Chandrababu Naidu is in an unenviable situation as there is tremendous pressure on him to speed up the process of according BC status to Kapus as demanded by Padmanabham at the Ikya Garjana. But conceding the demand is likely to trigger a political backlash from the BCs who are against providing reservations to the Kapus as they fear that they would corner all positions in the Panchayat Raj institutions and the central government departments where there is no categorisation of BCs.
What has come as surprise for the three TDP Kapu ministers - deputy chief minister N Chinna Rajappa, Ganta Srinivasa Rao and P Narayana - was the kind of rage that was building up in the Kapu youths for quite sometime now against the TDP rule which expressed itself in the form of arson.
For the last few months, clashes were being reported between the Kapus and Setti Balijas who are BCs on some issue or the other. When Padmanabham, who is in his later 60s, asked them to go along with him to stage a rail roko, after the public meeting here, their bottled up emotions issued forth and apparently made them resort to arson. “It is quite surprising how the three ministers did not sense what was happening at ground level and take corrective action,” one TDP leader, under condition of anonymity, said.
Among the Kapu youths who were very militant were those who owe their allegiance to film actor Pawan Kalyan and they pick up argument with BCs in their villages. They found in Padmanabham a leader behind whom they could rally. When he called Ikya Garjana, all the Kapu youths across the state threw their weight behind him. Interestingly, 80 per cent of those who turned up at the meeting were youths, rending the air with slogans for BC status for Kapus and anti-government slogans.
According to unconfirmed reports, some Telugu Desam leaders too have extended covert support to Ikya Garjana but the TDP Kapu cadres were not secretive about their support for the meeting. “This is not a political meeting. It is for BC status for Kapus. What is wrong in attending it?” one TDP activist who came to the meeting said.
With the Kapu Ikya Garjana taking a violent turn, there is intense pressure on Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu now to accord BC status to Kapus as early as possible. The contention of Padmanabham and other leaders who attended the meeting was that Naidu was not serious in providing reservation to Kapus and that his measure to constitute a BC Commission headed by a former Karnataka High Court judge to study the socio-economic conditions of Kapus for including them among BCs is only intended to delay the issue.
Padmanabham, by pulling crowds to the Ikya Garjana has proved one point. He continues to be regarded as the messiah of the Kapus, and more importantly, the youth who feel slighted by the successive governments. They came to the venue by all modes of transport - buses, mini vans, cars tractors and bikes. They rendered the air with slogans in support of Padmanabham.
As the youths are crying hoarse over the reservations issue, YSRC, quick in seeing an opportunity tried to exploit it politically.
‘let’s block roads and trains’
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. 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. “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.
Decades Old Demand Kapu BC status demand decades old.
In 1993, CM K Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy announces Kapu status for BCs at Eluru Sadassu, issues a GO.
BC Welfare Association president R Krishnaiah challenges the GO in High Court which strikes it down.
Reservations for BCs already 50 pc
Supreme Court has laid down that quota can’t go beyond 50 pc.
If a state passes a resolution and sends it to Parliament and if it included in the ninth schedule of the Constitution, BC quota could go beyond 50 pc.
Kapus are numerically very strong in East Godavari and West Godavari districts.
Kapus in Telangana - Munnuru Kapus
and Kapus in North Andhra - Turpu Kapus are BCs