Andhra for Andhra Telugus, Karnataka for Kannadigas. India to go pucca local?

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. 

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