Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Kapu violence: Election promises haunt Chandrababu Naidu --- Kapu problem, Rayalaseema discontent & Amaravati are haunting

By Udumula Sudhakar Reddy

Three issues that are plaguing AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu are the Kapu reservation problem, the discontent in Rayalaseema, and obstacles to the construction  of Amaravati.

Mr Naidu’s election promises are haunting him as he is now two months short of completing two years in office. Admittedly, he has been speaking about these issues repeatedly while attacking the opposition.

While speaking to the media on Sunday, the CM had said that the YSRC wanted to use these issues to corner his government.

“They want to create obstacles to Amaravati. The opposition tried to incite regional passions in Rayalaseema saying it was not developed. Most of the projects are actually coming up in Seema. They also tried to stall Pattiseema and are now instigating fights between castes on the Kapu reservation issue,” he said.

Construction of Amaravati is a daunting task and Mr Naidu’s chances of re-election in 2019 will depend on whether he can showcase at least some parts of the capital. He had made several key promises, which he failed to implement including reservations for Kapus and Boyas.

The Opposition allege that Mr Naidu has failed to keep his promises and instead is blaming them. They say that these three issues will definitely spell doom for the TD in the next elections.

Former economic adviser to the AP government D.A. Somayujulu said, “The only thing they implemented is Rs 1,000 pension for the poor. Only a negligible part of the Rs 80,000 crore farm loans has been waived. To cover up a mistake the government is doing more mistakes. On the revenue front Central taxes and grants have increased by at least 30 per cent this year. At the same time taxes including VAT on excise, fuel and sand have been increased. Due to this the state’s revenues increased by 17 per cent. But the government is not implementing promises.”

Opposition leader Jagan said, “If anyone questions the forcible land acquisition in Amaravati, Naidu says that they are opposing the capital. The lands owned by Murali Mohan, Sujana Choudary, minister Narayana and other benamis of Naidu were not acquired. Even lands of SC/STs have been acquired. Pattiseema was taken up with 20 per cent excess commission instead of Polavaram. When we question it he says we are against Rayalaseema. In the call money case his own MLAs and MLCs are involved but no action was taken.”

Kapus can tilt the balance
Why do Kapus and associated sub castes constituting 27 per cent of AP matter for all political parties in AP? The Kapu reservation movement has turned into a nightmare for Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and the TD government as Kapus steered the party to power.

Kapus have a strong presence in the Godavari districts and Krishna, Guntur and other pockets of AP.

TD president N. Chandrababu Naidu had promised to provide reservations in education and jobs for the Kapu community during the 2014 election campaign which is legally a big problem.  The demand to incluse Kapus, Telaga, Balija and Ontari communities in the Backward Classes list is a long pending one.

The Kapu, Balija, Telaga and Ontari communities, which were grouped as one class under the broad category of Telaga, have been in and out of the Backward Classes over the last 100 years. The four communities were listed as BCs from 1915 but were removed from the list in 1956. They were brought back into the list five years later but excluded in 1966. The community has been fighting for re-inclusion since then.

Kapus along and sub-castes are socially and educationally backward  and are employed in the unorganised sector. The Kapu community and sub castes together constitute 27 per cent of the state's population post bifurcation.  The AP government recently set up a panel to study the reservation to be granted to them.

Kapus not eligible for quota
The Kapu community has not only produced a large number of IAS and IPS officials, it also has a huge influence on the film industry with stars and directors like Chiranjeevi, Pawan Kalyan, Allu Arjun, S.V. Ranga Rao, Puri Jagannath, Dasari Narayana Rao, Kaikala Satyanarayana, Savitri, V.V. Vinayak and Kodi Ramakrishna hailing from the community.

After the Kammas, there are at least 55 prominent Kapu actors and directors in Tollywood. The community also has several MPs, MLAs and former Union ministers like Mr M.M. Pallam Raju. In Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s Cabinet too they are influential people like Mr P. Narayana, Mr Ganta Srinivasa Rao and deputy CM Nimmakalaya Chinarajappa.

In the YSRC deputy floor leader Jyothula Nehru hails from the community. There are 138 MLAs and MPs and ministers from the Kapu community.

BCs leader and TS TD MLA R. Krishnaiah said, “The Kapu community has rich contractors and businessmen. There are also poor people in their community like in other castes. But reservation is not for economic empowerment. In social aspects Kapus are not eligible for inclusion into the BCs list.”

The community also has zamindars who are of the ruling class including the samsthans of Athili.

Several prominent Kapus have held top Constitutional positions. K.V. Reddy Naidu was the governor of the composite Madras state in 1935. He was also a member of the Governor's Council.

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