Actor-politician Pawan Kalyan on Sunday brought up the issue of reservation for the Kapu community in Andhra Pradesh and said that it was the "desire of crores of people who are struggling in the clutches of selfish politics."
The demand to give reservations to Kapus is a long-standing one. In January 2016, massive violence broke out during a 'Kapu Garjana Mahasabha' held in East Godavari district, after protestors set a few bogies of the Ratnachal Express ablaze in Tuni, besides damaging a police station and other property.
Police had booked Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham along with several other activists for their alleged role in inciting violence.
"For the past 56 years, it has become a political game for power-mongers to gain votes and come to power by showering hypocritical love towards Kapus. The Kapu community is given a raw deal by saying ‘yes’ in front and ‘no’ from the back," Pawan Kalyan said in a statement.
He said that the demand to add them to the Backward Class (BC) category was within constitutional guidelines and would not harm the reservation for other sections of society.
"During the 2014 elections, Telugu Desam Party on one side and YSRCP on the other made promises to provide Kapu quota," he added.
After the Chandrababu Naidu government came to power, he instituted the Manjunatha Commission to assess the conditions of Kapus.
After the Manjunatha Commission's final report, a Bill was tabled and approved in the Andhra Legislature to include Kapus in the BC list under an ‘F’ category with 5% reservation.
"These reservations are applicable only for education and jobs. The Bill was sent to the Central government for further approval. The Kapu elders and intelligentsia have found fault in it as it is not that simple to get approval in the Parliament and become a law. The Centre will take the whole country as one unit into consideration. As a result, it will expire over the period," Pawan Kalyan said, blaming Chandrababu Naidu for not doing enough.
He also lashed out at Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy for diluting the 5% reservation to Kapus from the Centre's Economically Backward Castes (EBC) quota of 10%, which was granted by Naidu.
"Soon after he came to power, Jagan diluted 5% reservation given to Kapus stating that these types of allocations will not stand in court. He even declined to implement reservations to economically backward forward castes in the state," Pawan Kalyan said.
"The Kapu leaders, who are speaking with me and other leaders in Jana Sena Party, are asking the government to concentrate on their reservation, a demand from half a century," he added.
Pawan concluded his statement asking Jagan to take concrete steps to grant reservation to Kapus, without causing any harm to the existing communities who were getting reservation in the state.