PM’s promise for sub-categorisation of Madigas aims for the long term

Move is part of BJP’s ‘three Ms’ strategy to get the support of three communities for making inroads into Telangana

November 14, 2023 07:50 pm | Updated November 15, 2023 12:27 am IST - NEW DELHI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi leader Manda Krishna Madiga in Hyderabad.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi leader Manda Krishna Madiga in Hyderabad. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s declaration in Hyderabad on Saturday that his government will be setting up a committee to consider the sub-categorisation of the Madiga community in Telangana within the Scheduled Castes category, is something that the BJP hopes to reap political dividends of in 2024.

The announcement, made at a huge rally in the poll-going State of Telangana in the presence of community leader Manda Krishna Madiga and under the aegis of the Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS), is being considered part of the BJP’s “three Ms” strategy — to get the support of the Munnur Kapu, Mudiraju, Madiga communities — for making inroads into Telangana, if not during the Assembly election then at least for the Lok Sabha poll in 2024.

The Madiga community constitutes at least 50% of the total Scheduled Castes in Telangana, with the 2011 census putting the total SCs at a little over 15% of the population of the State. For years, the Madiga community has said that the benefits of reservation under the SC category has been cornered by the Mala community, with the Madigas being left out.

Long fight

Since 1994, the community has been struggling for sub-categorisation, first via the Madiga Dandora movement, and later through the years with the MRPS. Several commissions have been set up to look into these demands, including under Justice P. Ramachandra Raju in 1996, and later under Justice Usha Mehra in 2007, who both said that ways and means could be found for sub-categorisation.

The reason that the BJP has now cottoned on to this demand again (the party had earlier said it was in favour but did not move forward administratively) is that it has now alighted on what party leaders term the “three Ms” formula. “Just as in Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP managed to attract non-Jatav Dalits, and more importantly in Karnataka where “left-hand” communities among the Dalits, including the Madigas in the State, were inclined towards the BJP, and the “right-hand” SCs were inclined towards the Congress, the BJP is hoping that the Madigas in Telangana will form a firm support base for the party,” said a senior BJP leader.

Numerically strong

The party is aiming at roping in the “three Ms” as support base before the 2024 Lok Sabha election – namely the Munnur Kapu community, a Backward Class, which includes BJP MPs Dharmapuri Aravind and Bandi Sanjay Kumar; secondly, the Mudiraju community, also a Backward Class, to which BJP’s election committee in-charge Eatala Rajendra belongs to; and finally, the Madiga community.

The three communities are numerically strong, some putting their combined figure at nearly 1.5 crore of the State’s population. The BJP has leaders hailing from each of these communities – despite the fact that Mr. Kumar was removed as State president and Union Minister G. Kishen Reddy put in his place, a move that has perplexed BJP watchers in Telangana, since the Reddy community has never been a catchment area for votes for the BJP.

“For the three Ms to work out, this should have been done a while earlier. It is too late now for it to have an impact on the Assembly poll, but if the BJP is serious, then this combination can work for the party in the Lok Sabha election of 2024,” said a source.

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