Kapu agitation in Andhra Pradesh is for political dominance and economic mobility
Reservations are often used by castes to achieve something more than redressing deprivation. The Kapu agitation in Andhra Pradesh is one such example. Unlike the agitations of Jats in Haryana, Marathas in Maharastra and Patels in Gujarat, which are marked by “fear of below”, that is, the relative mobility of SCs and OBCs, the Kapu anxiety is driven by both “fear from below” vis-à-vis the mobility of SCs and other OBCs and “fear of above” — the uninterrupted hegemony of Kammas and Reddys.
While the demand for quotas is shared by all Kapus, the reasons differ on class lines. On the one hand, the Kapu elites long for political dominance in proportion to their numerical strength. The Kapu agitation intensified after the creation of Telangana as their share in the Andhra population went up from 16 per cent to 25 per cent. On the other hand, poor Kapus see reservations as a vehicle of mobility in education and jobs. But how pronounced is socio-economic differentiation between these two extremes? The last two rounds (2004-05 and 2011-12) of The India Human Development Survey helps to assess the Kapu claims of deprivation.