Among the points BS Yediyurappa made during his Independence Day speech was to address the growing demands for reservation for locals in jobs in Karnataka. He assured that a lion’s share of jobs will be reserved for Kannadigas in the state. This was in response to pro-Kannada organisations who have been demanding 100 per cent reservation in jobs in Karnataka for Kannadigas.
In short, Karnataka only for Kannadigas.
This demand by pro-Kannada organisations is not new but the oxygen has been provided by Jaganmohan Reddy’s decision in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to pass a law last month whereby three in every four jobs in all industrial units including those established under the public-private partnership mode, will be reserved for locals. Andhra Pradesh has become the first state in India to pass such a law.
The problem is if Yediyurappa walks the talk and follows in Jagan’s footsteps, it will hurt Andhra Pradesh. That is because a significant number of Telugus work in Bengaluru, Mysuru and other border districts of Raichur, Ballari and Kolar. It will be quite a negative hit for Jagan if those originally from Andhra Pradesh have to leave their jobs and return home to a state that may not be able to provide them with suitable quality jobs and pay perks. Of course, the possibility of them relocating to states which do not impose such a local only law is more, should Karnataka go the Andhra way.
But Andhra will not be the only state to take a hit. Unlike Andhra Pradesh that is not home to much industry, Karnataka – especially its cities like Bengaluru, Mysuru and even Mangaluru to an extent – are fairly cosmopolitan with a huge influx of human resource from outside of Karnataka. Can Yediyurappa afford to bring an Andhra-like law?
While Jagan is his own high command, it won’t be easy for Yediyurappa to implement such a law. Given the large north Indian population working in Bengaluru, the BJP leadership is unlikely to let its government create unrest among the non-Kannadigas. Since Bengaluru is also home to several multinationals, the Karnataka only for Kannadigas may not send the right signals to the investor community.