THE ANDHRA Pradesh Assembly on Saturday unanimously passed the Bill to give 5 per cent reservation in education and employment to people from the Kapu community in the state. Making a statement in the Assembly, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that the newly introduced quota for Kapus has taken total reservation in the state past the 50-per cent limit set by the Supreme Court, and will thus need to be sent to the Centre for its assent.
Stating that the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has fulfilled its 2014 election promise with this law, Naidu said, “Other categories of Backward Classes (BCs), who are the backbone of TDP, need not worry about the quota for Kapus. The existing quotas for BCs would be fully protected while extending quota to Kapus,” Naidu said. The Bill would be sent to Governor E S L Narasimhan on Monday, after which it would be sent to the Union Home Ministry.
“We will send this Bill to the Centre and request them to include this reservation in Schedule IX so that it becomes legitimate,” Naidu said. “Before taking this decision we held discussions with leaders of the Kapu community. They said the community does not need political reservation, and that education and employment reservation is enough.”
A Cabinet meeting on Friday had decided to extend reservations to Kapu, Telaga, Balija and Ontari communities on the basis of the report submitted by the Manjunath Commission. The Kapu community, which makes up for 27 per cent of the state’s population, has been demanding reservations for decades. Chandrababu Naidu had promised to extend reservation to the community if elected in the 2014 elections. The community is believed to have helped Naidu’s TDP emerge winner in 2014 with a slender margin of 2.06 per cent votes.
Naidu set up the Manjunath panel to recommend quota for Kapus in February 2016. Last year, a protest called by Kapu leader Mudragadda Padmanabham had turned violent, with protesters torching a train and ransacking Tuni railway station.