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Has AP Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy made a serious error of judgement on the issue of ST reservation for Boyas and Valmikis and SC status to Dalit Christians? Analysts feel that Jagan has walked into a potential minefield and could suffer serious loss of support among the sections that have hitherto remained loyal to him.
In a surprise move, YS Jagan has announced that the Boya and Valmikis would be included in the ST category. This has led to resentment among the ST communities in Twin Godavari districts and North Andhra. The tribals do not consider Boyas and Valmikis as non-tribals and argue that they are migrants to the forest areas.
What more? The Boyas and Valmikis enjoy BC status in Rayalaseema. If the change proposed by Jagan comes into effect, the Rayalaseema Boyas and Valmikis will likely claim ST status in the Agency area. Similarly, the resolution demanding SC status to Dalit Christians could build a feeling that Jagan is imposing a Christian agenda on AP. This could affect his voter base, say analysts.
In fact, the tribals have been steadfastly supporting the YSRCP. In 2014, all but one seats were won by the YSRCP, while all the ST reserved seats went to the YSRCP. Now by stirring up a hornets next like the inclusion of Boyas, Jagan risks losing the support base among the STs. On Friday, the tribal areas of the state observed a hugely successful bandh.