Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh assembly on Saturday unanimously passed a legislation to provide five per cent reservation for the Kapu community in government jobs and educational institutions.
Meeting a long-pending demand of Kapus, the government has included the community in the backward classes by creating a separate category `F`.
In the absence of only opposition party YSR Congress, which is boycotting the session, leaders of ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and its coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) participated in the debate on the bill.
Backward Classes Welfare Minister K Atchan Naidu tabled the bill. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and other members spoke on the bill. It was later passed unanimously with a voice vote.
Naidu said his government had fulfilled a promise made to Kapus in 2014 elections. He assured the House that steps will be taken to ensure that the benefits of development and welfare schemes reached Kapus.
The state cabinet had earlier accepted recommendations of the Manjunatha Committee, which examined the demand of Kapus and suggested earmarking five per cent for them.
Set up by the government last year, the committee studied the socio-economic conditions of Kapus across the state and submitted its report to the government.
As this legislation will take the overall quantum of reservation in the state to over 50 per cent, the cap fixed by the Supreme Court, the state government will request the Centre to amend the Constitution and include the legislation in Schedule IX to insulate it from any court ruling.
The existing reservation for various castes is 50 per cent. It is 25 per cent for backward classes, 15 per cent for Scheduled Castes, six per cent for Scheduled Tribes and four per cent for minorities.
The bill was passed at a time when YSR Congress Party is boycotting the legislature session to protest lack of action by the speaker to disqualify its legislators who crossed over to TDP during last three years.
Political observers say the move by the TDP will effectively counter YSR Congress chief Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who is currently on a state-wide `padyatra` and criticising the ruling party for failing to fulfil its poll promise.
This is also expected to silence Kapu Sangham leader Mudragada Padmanabham, who was on warpath over the issue. The protest called by the organisation early this year had led to large-scale violence in Tuni town with protestors setting afire a train, several vehicles and two police stations.
The TDP has also denied actor Pawan Kalyan`s Jana Sena from making Kapu reservation a major issue in the run up to the elections. Pawan Kalyan belongs to Kapu community.