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Is Pawan Kalyan Stealing The Thunder From Mudragada's Stir?

Telugu Desam cadres believe that Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan's public meeting on September 9 at Kakinada is expected to take the sheen out of the conclave which Kapu patriarch Mudragada Padmanabham has scheduled on September 11 at Rajahmundry to decide his future course of action on his demand for backward classes status for Kapus.

Ever since Pawan Kalyan addressed a high voltage public meeting at Tirupati without any warning or notice on last Saturday, speculation is rife among political circles that it may after all not be a decision taken on the spur of the moment.

As Mudragada Padmanabham is getting ready with arming himself with ammunition to attack the government, it is possible that Pawan Kalyan may have appeared on the scene to rally youths behind him in Tirupati - Kapu heartland of Rayalaseema. From that dais itself he had announced his second public meeting would be on Sept ember 9 at Kakinada, where again Kapus are numerically very strong.

Pawan Kalyan's public meetings and Mudragada's parleys with senior Kapu leaders on Monday and Tuesday at Hyderabad and his meeting with Kapu functionaries at Rajahmundry on September 11 appear to be independent of each other. But are they?

YSRC leader Ambati Rambabu was careful in avoiding a query on whether Pawan Kalyan's meeting was a coincidence or deliberate. “I cannot talk about it now. I can only tell you that at the meeting held here on Tuesday, we decided to back Mudragada regardless of whatever agitation programme he decides to take on September 11," Rambabu said after the meeting.

Congress leaders say that Pawan Kalyan surfaced in Tirupati only at the bidding of TDP which does not want Mudragada to emerge as a rallying point for Kapus who have are in such numbers that they could make or mar a government. Though the state government has promised BC status to Kapus and appointed Manjunath Commission, it has miles to go before it could come up with a report. Moreover, the Manjunath Commission has been constituted to study which castes have the eligibility to be included among the BCs and Kapus are only one among them.

There is also the possibility that if the Manjunath Commission decides that the Kapus need not be given BC status, the entire process of getting BC tag for Kapus gets derailed and the state government would be sitting blushing over the development.

But neither the TDP nor the Congress leaders are willing to be quoted as saying that Pawan Kalyan has been “brought" to the centrestage lest they should be dubbed as those who are opposing special category status. Said former Union minister and Kapu leader MM Pallam Raju: “What all I can say is that we want backward classes status for Kapus. I do not want to speculate if appearance of Pawan Kalyan on political scene is to divide the Kapus and thus weaken the movement," Pallam Raju told.

The TDP too is also wary on its comments on Pawan Kalyan. So far all the leaders have spoken about Pawan Kalyan as though they were walking on egg shells.

Academicians argue that whatever the political motive that Pawan Kalyan had, his decision to throw his weight behind the demand for special category status is a welcome development. Says former vice-chancellor of Nagarjuna University K Vienna Rao: “We need special category status very badly since in its absence development would be very slow. I am an academician and I do not want to indulge political speculation," he said.

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