Naidu’s Quota Co­nun­drum

The Kapu com­mu­nity’s de­mand for reser­va­tions could make things sticky for the Andhra Pradesh CM

India Today - - STATES - By Amar­nath K. Menon

PMu­dra­gada Pad­man­ab­ham, the pa­tri­arch of Andhra Pradesh’s nu­mer­i­cally strong Kapu com­mu­nity, wants quo­tas for them in ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions and gov­ern­ment jobs, which means in­clud­ing them in the back­ward classes (BCs). And he’s ready to do what­ever it takes to get chief min-is­ter N. Chan­drababu Naidu to con­cede.In a bind, Naidu or­dered for Padma-nab­ham to be placed un­der house ar­rest on Jan­uary 25, just as he was prepar­ing to lead a 116-km protest march from Ravu­la­palem to Anatar­avedi in the Go­davari delta. More than 2,000 ri­otready po­lice­men de­scended on Kir­lam­pudi, his na­tive vil­lage, and neigh­bour­ing set­tle­ments to stall the ‘satya­graha’. But Pad­man­ab­ham is adamant. “If law­ful forms of protests are not al­lowed, we will teach the rul­ing party a les­son in the next as­sem­bly elec­tions,” he said. Pad­man­ab­ham wants Naidu to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of the K.L. Man­ju­nath Com­mis­sion (the re­port is ex­pected later this year), sanc­tion more funds to the Kapu Welfare Com­mis­sion and es­tab­lish hos­tels for im­pov­er­ished Kapu stu­dents.

Changed de­mo­graph­ics, ow­ing to the bi­fur­ca­tion of the state, have worked in Ka­pus’ favour. Once just 17 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion in un­di­vided Andhra, Ka­pus are now an elec­torally sig­nif­i­cant 27 per cent. Aware of the dif­fer­ence they could make in elec­tions, Naidu in­cluded five Ka­pus in his coun­cil of min­is­ters, in­clud­ing N. Chin­nara­jappa as deputy CM. There are 18 Kapu MLAs and two MPs. But the com­mu­nity is far from im­pressed.

GONE KAPU: Protests by com­mu­nity mem­bers

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