In a move that is bound to trigger strong backlash from Backward Castes, the chief ministers of the two Telugu states announced their commitment to tinker with the law to bring more sections under the umbrella of reservations.

 

Even though they have been talking of such a move, for the first time, their intentions found mention in their Independence Day addresses on Monday. 

 

While Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Naidu promised reservation for the upper caste poor, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao talked of reservations for STs on population basis, besides implementing 12% quota for Minorities.

 

Ignoring the fact that the reservations to the poor among the upper castes has legal hurdles, Naidu made this announcement while addressing the public after hoisting the tri-colour at Anantapur this morning on the occasion of the 70th Independence Day.

 

“There are poor among the upper castes as well. They need governmental support in getting jobs. The state government will implement reservations to these sections, besides helping these economically weaker sections through poverty alleviation schemes.

 

The announcement also came amid the ongoing protests from BCs against the government’s proposal to accord Backward Caste status to upper caste Kapus in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

 

Last month, leaders from about 100 Backward Castes assembled at Vijayawada to oppose the TDP government’s move. They burnt the effigy of Naidu. A section in the TDP is also opposed to accepting Kapus as BC.

 

On the other side of the divide, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao took a different path to the controversy. He said reservations to the Scheduled Tribes would be hiked in accordance with their population in the state, besides promising 12 quotas to Muslims.

 

KCR said this in his Independence Day speech delivered at the historic Golkonda Fort.

 

The submission of the reports by Dr Chellappa Commission and Sudhir Commission, appointed separately by Telangana government, to study the inclusion of certain castes to the list of STs, and implementing quota to Minorities respectively, is the backdrop for the CM’ s statement.

 

If the Chellappa’s report is implemented certain BC communities such as Boya would become STs, which is likely to be opposed by the STs. To blunt the possible resistance from STs Proper, the CM is said to have floated the idea of reservations to STs on population basis.

 

“The government has received reports from Chellappa and Sudhir Commissions. There is need to enhance the reservations to these communities on the ratio of population by amending the law,” he said.

 

The government has already decided to follow the Tamil Naidu model of reservations where, the quota has exceeded the 50% cap imposed by the Supreme Court.

 

The decisions of Naidu and KCR drew instant sharp reaction from TDP MLA from Telangana. R Krishnaiah, TDP MLA and prominent BC leader from the two states, said BCs would not allow these moves by his own party’s government in Andhra Pradesh, and TRS regime in Telangana. 

 

“How could the AP chief minister think of extending reservations to the poor among the upper castes, even though such an attempt had been struck down by Gujarat High Court just a few days ago?

 

“If Naidu wants to help poor among the upper castes, he can do it through poverty alleviation schemes available at the state and national levels. Adding upper caste poor to the BC list is unconstitutional,” he said.

 

Krishnaiah, who has been in the forefront of BC movement in the state for over 30 years, also rubbished the idea of population-based quota for ST and Muslims in Telangana.

 

In that case, BC quota should also be enhanced on population ratio, he said.