The Andhra Pradesh Government has decided to give five percent quota in education and employment to the powerful Kapu community. In August, the ruling TDP Government had in-principle agreed to the recommendations made by the Justice (retd) Manjunatha Commission which was set up to look into the issue of extending reservations to Kapus. This was one of the ruling Telugu Desam Party’s poll promises in 2014, and takes the total quota in Andhra Pradesh to 55 per cent which is more than the 50 per cent limit set by the Supreme Court. The Cabinet which met at Amaravati on Friday discussed the report submitted by Manjunath Commission and decided to extend reservations to Kapu, Telaga, Balija and Ontari communities. A new BC-F category will be created for them. The AP cabinet will meet again today and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu will announce it in the State Assembly. A Bill is also likely to be introduced and once it is passed in Assembly it will be sent to the Centre.
The powerful Kapu community, with 27 per cent population in AP, has been demanding reservations since decades. Before the 2014 elections, Chandrababu Naidu promised to give quota to the community if elected to power. However, it was only in February 2016 that Naidu set up the Manjunatha Commission to recommend quota for Kapus. The reservations will come into effect only if the Centre agrees and passes a resolution in the Parliament because with the Kapu reservations, the total reservations in Andhra Pradesh exceed the 50 per cent limit set by the Supreme Court.
In Andhra Pradesh, BCs (A, B, C, D categories) have 25 per cent reservation. There is a 4 per cent reservation for BC (E) which is for backward Muslim communities. SCs have 15 per cent, and STs have 6 per cent quota, totaling 50 per cent reservations. With the inclusion of Kapus in the list, the quota goes up to 55 per cent. Kapus are widely believed to have supported the TDP in the 2014 elections which help it to win with a slender margin of 2.06 per cent vote. After coming to power as the Naidu dithered over the quota promise, Kapu leader Mudragadda Padmanabham called for a protest on January 31 last year near Tuni in East Godavari district which turned violent and protestors torched the Ratnanchal Express and ransacked Tuni railway station. Since then Kapu leaders have been putting pressure on the TDP Government to fulfill its poll promise.