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Caste politics always ruins the image of state during the elections. In Andhra Pradesh another caste-centric elections war is ready to begin for 2024 polls. This time Kapu’s community which is dominated is step ahead in the battle of polls. The result will be unpredictable. And another poll-war is in the making in the Telugu state.

The political atmosphere in Andhra Pradesh seems to be ripe for a ‘caste-centric war’ well ahead of the 2024 General Elections. The single largest community in the state viz. Kapu, including Balija, Telaga and Ontari in various regions, would determine who is going to be in the saddle. Be it Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, who wants to retain power, or TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu, who wants to return to power, enlisting support of the Kapu community is crucial.

The Kapu community is in a churn because of the unity efforts among its various sub-groups. The emergence of Jana Sena Party (JSP), headed by popular film star ‘Power Star’ Pawan Kalyan, and its preparations to context the next elections, have made it imperative for the ruling YSRCP to adopt measures designed to defuse the incipient unity efforts. This includes steps to woo the Kapu community by all possible means.

This explains why the state’s government’s Kapu Nestam (friend of Kapus) programme was organised on a grand scale. Jagan personally attended the programme in East Godavari district, where the community is predominant. The Chief Minister did not hesitate to make provocative remarks against “political forces that are trying influence Kapu voters to turn against the YSRCP”.

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It is a known fact that Pawan Kalyan had declared his intention to keep ‘anti-YSRCP forces’ united in bringing down the Jagan regime. So, Jagan has been playing mind games against his political opponents. Until recently, Jagan’s vitriolic diatribe was focused on Chandrababu Naidu.Of late he has been alluding to the JSP leader as Naidu’s ‘foster son’. He suggested that Pawan was not working for himself, but with the intention of making Naidu chief minister of AP again.

What if a united Kapu community goes against YSRCP? Since annoying comments made by lower rung leaders too reflect on Jagan, the community may hit back. The derogatory comments made by Kodali Sri Venkateswara Rao @Nani of Gudiwada against Chandrababu and his son Lokesh are treated as remarks of Jagan. So, the Jagan government must be wary of facing a united opposition in the 2024 elections. 

The ruling party cadre are heckling Pawan Kalyan for his defeat in both the constituencies he contested in the 2019 polls. They have challenged him to contest on his own without any alliance with other opposition parties, particularly TDP. Pawan has retorted stating that YSRCP is feeling the same on facing a ‘united opposition’. As things stand, there have been no concrete efforts to bring anti-YSRCP forces under one political umbrella. Leaders of TDP and JSP have not spelt it out so far.

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In the 2019 elections, many constituencies witnessed a split in anti-YSRCP votes, following triangular fights. Statistics of votes have caused concern among the cadres of the ruling party as well as the leadership. The anti-incumbency factor may work to the disadvantage of YSRCP this time. Some sections are wondering whether it is it possible for the ruling dispensation to arrest unity efforts in the Kapu community.

Almost a quarter century ago, the two principal castes among the Scheduled Castes (SCs) made a vain bid to get united for electoral purpose. But all political parties, run by mostly upper castes, had a plan of perfect action at the behest of then chief minister of undivided AP Chandrababu Naidu. What prompted them to act against the unity efforts of Scheduled Castes was the tremendous response created by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in AP under the aegis of its supremo Kanshi Ram in the 1994 Assembly elections.He personally visited the state and made efforts to create awareness among SCs. But a negative propaganda was initiated against BSP at the behest of upper castes that money was playing key role in getting party tickets. This development pained Kanshi Ram so much so that he rededicated himself to work extensively for AP.

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So, the idea of categorisation of quota for the Scheduled Castes was born and it appealed to all parties. This burst the bubble of unity efforts among SCs. Following job opportunities provided by the categorisation of reservations, the Madiga caste benefited to the maximum extent, while members of the Mala caste felt short-changed.

This drove a wedge between the two major sub-castes of SCs. The Apex Court had ruled against categorisation. Otherwise, the political situation in undivided Andhra Pradesh would have been different with a united community of SCs!

Now it is the turn of Kapus. But, unlike SCs, the Kapu community has moneybags and muscle power to face any political eventuality. The larger question is: Will YSRCP still crush unity efforts in the Kapu community? Or, will Naidu and Pawan crack a deal for their common goal of unseating Jaganmohan Reddy? Whatever it be, the coming General Election is set to be exciting! #KhabarLive #hydnews #hyderabadlive