Kommineni Srinivasa Rao
The Andhra Pradesh government has made a mockery of the Constitution and its provisions by introducing Bills and Resolutions suiting its whims and fancies. To the AP government, all that matters is the introduction of a Bill or motion. The latest example of this is the 5% reservation accorded to the Kapu community in the economically backward communities among upper caste and passing the Bill to this effect in the AP State Assembly. Ordinarily, one would welcome such a step, but here it is intended only to deceive the Kapu community, it appears. It must be recollected that a few months ago AP chief minister Chandrababu Naidu had introduced a Bill including the Kapus in the list of BC groups and forwarded the proposal to the Centre. No one knows what happened later. The Kapu Reservation Bill turned into a controversial issue at that time. Without involving the chairman of the BC commission, Chandrababu Naidu had hastily introduced a Bill to this effect and forwarded it to the Centre. The TDP supremo was very aware of the fact that the proposal would not get implemented.
Kapu community leaders including Mudragada Padmanabham pointed this out and were very vocal in their criticism. Chandrababu however, remained unfazed and got himself felicitated by ministers from the Kapu community. He even put into motion propaganda that his government had included the Kapu communities in BCs. To this day, not a single Kapu has received a certificate stating that he belongs to the BC community because orders to this effect were never issued. The entire exercise was one in deception and betrayal. Similarly, the Reservation Bill for Kapus undertaken by the TDP government now is a similar exercise. The Modi government has introduced the 10% quota for upper caste on a countrywide basis and has made the required constitutional provisions for it. However, it has not spelt out as to which community is to given what percentage. It only stated clearly that the Bill applies to the economically backward communities in upper castes. Legal experts say that in view of the constitutional amendment, states cannot provide reservations according to their wish. In spite of all these facts, the Chandrababu Naidu government announced 5% reservation to Kapus.
The silence on the part of members of the TDP in this respect is leading to criticism that they are betraying the cause of the community.
The last time around, Chandrababu Naidu got himself felicitated for including Kapus in BCs. Why is it that such displays of commendation and appreciation are not taking place now? Does the TDP government see Kapus as a BC community? Does Chandrababu Naidu think they belong to upper caste? This ambiguity remains because after having included them in BCs, the TDP supremo has now announced 5% reservation to them. Kapus feel that Chandrababu Naidu and the TDP have betrayed their cause. It is widely felt that the TDP chief has created needless strife among the communities by taking this step. EBC communities have already threatened to go to court over this. Brahmins and other communities have also echoed their sentiments. The question that arises is whether the governor would lend his ascent to this controversial bill. If the governor were to return it saying that the Bill runs contrary to the provisions of the constitution, Chandrababu and the TDP will try to pass the buck on to the Centre. It would be far more dignified if the Chandrababu seeks forgiveness from the people of Andhra Pradesh for not being able to implement his promise for reservations to Kapus. Instead, true to his style, he is engaging in a fresh exercise of betrayal of the community.