Kapu leader continues fast, government holds talks

Visakhapatnam, Feb 8 (IANS) Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham and his wife’s indefinite fast to demand reservation for the community, entered the fourth day on Monday even as the Andhra Pradesh government continued talks with them to convince them to call off the protest.

The former minister and his wife Padmavati have been fasting at their house at Kirlampudi in East Godavari district since Friday.

They have been refusing to undergo medical check-up, though officials with government doctors continue to visit their house and make requests.

Two legislators of ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Sunday night held talks with the couple but no breakthrough could be achieved.

State Labour Minister Atchan Naidu and TDP’s Andhra Pradesh unit president Kala Venkat Rao on Monday resumed talks with Mudragada and made fresh proposals to break the deadlock.

The Kapu leader is demanding inclusion of the Kapus in a list of backward classes and reservation for the community in education and jobs. They are also seeking Rs.1,900 crore for a Kapu corporation.

Police and paramilitary forces remained deployed around the fasting leader’s house to prevent any violence. Police were not allowing his supporters to meet him.

Former union minister K. Chiranjeevi and Congress party’s state president Raghuveera Reddy were arrested at Rajahmundry airport soon after they landed and were preparing to leave for Kirlampudi to meet Mudragada. The arrests led to a strong protest by Congress workers.

Police also stopped another former minister Dasari Narayan Rao in Rajahmundry from leaving for Kirlampudi to meet the fasting Kapu leader.

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