Amaravati: The East Godavari district is boiling now with Kapus getting ready for the marathon Satyagraha Walk set to begin in the next 24 hours. The walk or ‘yatra’ called by former minister Mudragada Padmanabham, and supported by the Kapu Joint Action Committee (KJAC) is scheduled to begin at Ravulapalem and culminate at Antarvedi. Its aim is to make the TDP government act on the party’s 2014 poll promise of including Kapus in the Backward Class list.
While the State police have insisted on the former minister and the JAC to seek police permission for the yatra, the organizers have refused to do so, citing the cases of Chandrababu Naidu’s 2014 elections walk and YSRCP leader Jaganmohan Reddy’s Odarpu Yatras.
“When Chandrababu Naidu himself did not seek police permission for his walk, why should we seek now? Why is he (CBN) insisting upon us to seek police permission?” is what the former minister and his loyalists are asking. While refusing to answer these questions, the State police have deployed heavy forces to the village to prevent any movement of the activists. The district administration had clamped Section 144 in the area from January 22 to February 10, prohibiting gathering of people.
Meanwhile, the ruling TDP had succeeded, to some extent, in bringing a split in the Kapu movement by isolating Balija leaders from the former minister. The Kapu movement has the representation of Kapu, Ontari, Balija, Telaga, Munnuru Kapu and Turpu Kapu sub-castes. After the dominant Kapus, it is the Balija community that enjoys greater strength. It is now divided with a section of the leaders speaking for Chandrababu Naidu.
The Kapu leaders in the ruling TDP have thus succeeded in weakening the former minister’s strength and thus bringing down the heat on the government. Though the TDP had tried to use its Kapu strength including that of the Deputy Chief Minister N Chinarajappa, Ministers P Narayana and Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Kapu Corporation chairman Ch Ramanujaiah and others to break the community rallying behind Mudragada, it could not succeed. However, it was only after Chandrababu Naidu’s intervention that the dominant Balija group had walked out of Mudragada ahead of the marathon walk.
The silent walk from Ravulapalem to Antarvedi was initially planned for November 16 last year. However, the police had spoiled the event on the ground that it had no police clearance. That time too, Mudragada and the JAC leaders had refused to seek permission and finally it was postponed to January 25, the Republic Day eve.
Mudragada had planned his agitation strategically this time. He had put the entire police force in a fix as they would have to participate in the Republic Day celebrations at the district headquarters and at their respective police stations on the day. Now, a day before it, the State had to post a huge contingent of the forces at Kirlampudi.
With the police taking their positions on one side to prevent the event and the organizers getting ready to make it with equally strong determination, the village now looks like a war field. The police forces are also using drones and video cameras to keep an eye on the movement of activists in all the Konaseema villages. Temporary check posts have been set up at every entry point to every village and people are allowed to go only after thorough frisking.