AP Gives 5% Reservation to Kapus in 10% EWS Quota

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has approved a proposal to grant 5% reservation to the Kapu community in the state, following the Centre’s Bill to provide 10% reservations to Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) from the general category in jobs and education.  
The decision was taken in the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. According to the government, many people from the Kapu community are economically backward. “We have a Kapu Commission report to show this on paper. The other communities will also get justice because they will also get the remaining half of the EBC quota,” said state I&PR minister Kalva Srinivasulu.  
Additionally, the TDP Government is also working on getting the Kapus reservation under the BC category as well. “There is no question of letting that fight go. However, since we got a choice now, we wanted to use it for the benefit of the Kapu community," he added.
With its latest move, the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is looking to woo the Kapu vote bank, which plays a crucial role in deciding the outcome of the upcoming Legislative Assembly and Lok Sabha Elections in the state. The Kapu community has been drifting away from the TDP ever since the growth of Jana Sena Party founded by film actor Pawan Kalyan.
Timely move by AP Govt 
Constituting around 25% of the population in the state and mainly concentrated in the twin Godavari districts, the Kapu community plays a key role in deciding a party's chances in any election. Granting them reservation, was one of Chandrababu Naidu’s poll promises made in 2014. 
In January 2016, during a Kapu ‘Garjana Mahasabha’ held in East Godavari district, political leader Mudragada Padmanabham allegedly riled up the crowd, following which the crowd went on a rampage. Protesters set eight bogies of the Ratnachal Express at Tuni afire before they went on to damage a police station, and police and private vehicles.
Following the incident at Tuni, the TDP government constituted the Manjunatha Commission to look into the reservation issue. After this move, the state cabinet took the decision to grant reservation to the Kapus on the basis of the Commission's report. A new BC-F category was created for this purpose, where other sub-castes were also added. 
BCs get 29% reservation in the state under A,B,C,D and E categories, while 15% and 6% reservations exist for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), respectively. With another 5% being added under the BC-F category, the total reservation in the state was proposed to go up to 55%, which meant that the Centre's nod was necessary as it needed to be included with an amendment to Schedule 9 of the Constitution.
In August last year, the TDP even moved a private bill in the Lok Sabha over the issue, but to no avail. Political observers say that the TDP has made a timely move with this announcement, ahead of the assembly election. 
“It is a big benefit for the TDP, politically speaking. With this 5%, even if they are able to quickly recruit 50,000 or 1 lakh people for jobs quickly or ensure that more youth from the community get admission in colleges and universities, then it will definitely be an advantage to Naidu.

Additionally, this will not be a legal hurdle as the Government of India has directed states to make provisions in educational institutions to roll out the quota by increasing the number of seats. 
However, some Kapu leaders say that their inclusion as BCs should be done and only then will the community benefit. The state government will issue a Government Order (GO) soon and the issue will also be taken up for discussion in the upcoming Assembly Session in the state. 
Politically, the Telugu Desam Party has been making the right moves in the recent past to attract the Kapu vote bank. While the party has refrained from making any negative comments pitch Jana Sena Party, it has also been successful in attracting Vangaveeti Radha, son of famous Kapu leader Vangaveeti Ranga, into the party. With Radha quitting YSR Congress Party and joining the TDP, this could mark a positive beginning for Kapus’ entry into TDP, again. 

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