23-01-201923-01-2019 17:34:59 IST
Updated On 23-01-2019 17:39:01 ISTUpdated On 23-01-20192019-01-23T12:04:59.343Z23-01-2019 2019-01-23T12:04:55.514Z - 2019-01-23T12:09:01.382Z - 23-01-2019
Following the parliament’s historic constitutional amendment bill for ‘economically weak’ people in the General category, the recent announcement of the Andhra state government to allocate 5% reservation to Kapu community out of the 10% quota for economically weaker sections (EWS) in the State has raised certain questions amongst the legal experts.
Going back to the 2017 State Assembly sessions, a resolution was passed by the AP assembly on the 5 % reservation for Kapus and was forwarded to the Centre with a request to include the community in the Backward list and bring a constitutional amendment. But, the Modi –led government did not accept the state’s plea and stated that the reservation bill for the upper caste violates the Supreme Court judgment on reservations that should not exceed 50 percent.
Strong in the twin districts of Godavari and equally strong in Rayalaseema, this community can be a game changer for the upcoming AP assembly elections. However, with Kapu quota being a sensitive issue, barring BJP, none in the Opposition, including YSRC, has reacted, perhaps fearing that any stand - either in favour of or against - would prove counterproductive in the ensuing elections.
During the 2014 elections, the Telugu Desam Party(TDP) had promised five percent reservation bill for Kapu community in the education and jobs. The Party then promised to include Kapus in the backward category list under Schedule IX. In that sense, Naidu’s gambit to retain the Kapu votes by promising reservations, a long-standing demand of the community, appears to be a good tactic. Nonetheless, Kapu leaders are skeptical about whether the move will help the TDP.
"The Constitutional Amendment enabling 10 percent quota for economically weaker sections allows States to reserve the quota and there would not be any legal problems. TDP is confident and also sees no legal hurdles in the way of its implementation”, said Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar, TDP MP and party legal cell in-charge.
Party insiders are seeing this as a timely move as reserving five percent quota will not have any adverse impact on the election prospects of the party and the loss of support among other forward castes as a result of this is a risk worth taking as Kapus constitute nearly 27% of the electorate.
Now that the Centre has made the Constitutional Amendment providing 10 percent quota to economically weaker sections, It allows the States some flexibility. Under it, States can fix income limit and also notify EWS from time to time on the basis of family income and other indicators of economic backwardness.
However, there is another side that is raising a red flag over the state deciding the quota in a bill passed by the Parliament doubting if quota within quota will stand legal scrutiny. The State government, however, is confident of the move and will deliberate the issue in the budget session of the State Assembly slated to commence on January 30
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