Influential Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham on Monday ended his indefinite hunger strike demanding reservation for the community, after "assurances" from the Andhra Pradesh government, including allocation of Rs 1,000 crore annually to Kapu welfare corporation.
Padmanabham, a former MP from Kakinada, called off the hunger strike after the government assured that it would take all necessary “constitutional measures” on the issue of quota for Kapu community.
The breakthrough came after minister K. Atcham Naidu and Telugu Desam Party state president K. Venkat Rao met with the fasting leader at his residence in Kirlampudi village in East Godavari district, where the Kapu patriarch had launched an indefinite fast on February 5.
Later, they told him that Rs 500 crore would be allocated this fiscal year for the welfare of the Kapu community and Rs 1, 000 crore would be earmarked in the budget every year from the coming financial year onwards.
Padmanabham, 63, while talking to the media said his fight was to ensure justice for Kapu community which had remain “neglected” over decades. He said the TDP should keep its promise made in the election manifesto about providing reservation to the community without adversely affecting the interests of the OBCs.
There was high drama at the Kapu leader's native village as his supporters geared up for a confrontation with government representativee. All the entry points to Kirlampudi village were blocked by police and villagers and outsiders were allowed only if they showed an identity proof.
In the melee, Congress leaders, including actor-turned-politician and former Union Minister K. Chiranjeevi and the state Congress President N. Raghuveera Reddy were detained by the police at Rajahmundry as a preventive measure.
The TDP had promised in its 2014 election manifesto that it would take all necessary steps for inclusion of Kapus in the BC list. It has since set up a commission headed by former Karnataka High Court judge K.L. Manjunath to study the issue.
It has also constituted a six-member cabinet sub-committee to examine the issues pertaining to the community. The revival of the demand for granting OBC status to Kapus has now come to bite the TDP. It is a numerically strong and politically influential community.