VIJAYAWADA: In a shrewd move to prevent Backward Classes (BCs) from reading too much into his promise of according BC status to Kapus, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday tried to keep them in good humour by offering them moon at a Mega Runa Mela here.
The promises were made at a time when the BCs are restive over the pressure Kapus have brought on the chief minister for a share in reservations in education and employment and, worse still, a TDP legislator -- R Krishnaiah himself announcing an agitation programme to prevent inclusion of Kapus among the BCs.
The chief minister, in an attempt to neutralise the campaign by the BC leaders against reservations to the Kapus, gave away Rs 260 crore as loans to 40,712 beneficiaries at the runa mela even as a few BCs belonging to Akhil Bharata Yadav Maha Sabha, raised slogans against inclusion of Kapus among the BCs. The police who were present in strength, quickly rounded them up and took them away.
The chief minister, listing out various measures he had taken for the welfare of the BCs and what he intended to do to them, sought to make them understand that Kapus who are poor need to be helped. “I am not bothered about the castes to which affluent people belong. I am more concerned about the poor whether they are SCs or BCs or poor Kapus,” he said, with an intent to make them absorb the initial shock of his resolve to provide reservations to the Kapus.
The chief minister made every effort to soften the blow of providing reservations to Kapus by promising every thing that they could think of, to drive home the point that he would never forget the interests of the BCs. He kept on saying that BCs happen to be the backbone of the Telugu Desam Party and that it would, under no circumstances, think of doing any injustice to them. Even reservations for Kapus would be done in such a way that it would not hurt the interest of the BCs,” the chief minister said.
Naidu dwelt at length on how BCs had been placed in a disadvantageous position after the advent of the private sector which had begun making products on a large scale which hitherto they were doing, robbing them of their livelihood and said that he has several ideas under his sleeve to make them eke out a better living. As far as Nayi Brahmins are concerned, he wanted them to open beauty parlours instead of hair cutting saloons. “The government would finance such projects. A beauty parlour does many things besides hair cutting like providing massage services. If the BCs take them up, they would be able to augment their income,” he said.
Similarly, the chief minister said, his government was paying Rs 2,000 per family during the two months of fishing holiday which needs to be observed to increase the prospects of better catch in sea. “No other state government in the country is going to the rescue of fishermen during fishing holidays the way we are doing,” he said and promised to help them acquire fishing trawlers that could go far into the sea and net better catch.
For washermen, he said he would provide them loans upto Rs 4.5 lakh, particularly in towns and cities, to help them acquire driers so that their life becomes less strenuous. This apart, he would provide them better iron boxes to them, he said.
The chief minister did not lose the opportunity to hit out at the Opposition parties for trying to pit one caste against another. “They have no other work. They want strife so that they could derive political benefit. If there is no law and order, no industry comes and there would be no development,” the chief minister pointed out.