In a major boost for the Kapu community, Andhra Pradesh Assembly unanimously passed the Kapu reservation bill to provide 5 percent quota in education and employment to them. In August this year, the TDP Government had agreed on the recommendations made by the Justice (retd) Manjunatha Commission which was set up to look at the issue of extending reservations to the community. This was, in fact, one of the poll promises made by the party in 2014. With this, the total quota in the state has gone up to 55 percent which is more than the 50 percent limit set by the Supreme Court. The state cabinet that met at Amaravati discussed the report submitted by the commission, after which it decided to extend reservations to Kapu, Telaga, Balija and Ontari communities.
It was decided to create a new BC-F category for them. “As 5% of reservation to Kapus makes total reservation exceed 50%, central govt nod is compulsory. We will send this bill to the centre. We ask them to include this reservation in schedule 9, so that it will become legitimate”, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu told the state Assembly today. “We held discussions with leaders of Kapu community. They said they don’t need political reservation. Only education and employment reservation is enough. So we proceeded with that,” he added.
The community, with 27 percent population in the state, has been demanding reservations for a long time. Before the elections in 2014, Chandrababu Naidu promised to give quota to the community if elected to power. It was in February 2016 that the Andhra Pradesh Government had set up Manjunatha Commission to recommend quota for Kapus.
However, the reservations will come into effect only after the Centre agrees and passes a resolution in the Parliament Kapu reservations, exceed the 50 per cent limit set by the top court. There is 25 percent reservation for BCs (A, B, C, D categories) in the state. For BC(E), there is a 4 percent reservation. While SCs have 15 percent, STs have 6 percent quota in the state, totalling 50 percent reservations.
The TDP Government, after coming to power, dithered over the quota promise, after which Kapu leader Mudragadda Padmanabham called for a protest on January 31 last year in East Godavari district which turned violent and protestors torched Ratnanchal Express and ransacked Tuni railway station. Since then the leaders of the community have been pressuring on the TDP Government to fulfil its poll promise.