Seemandhra heads for intense caste war

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Hyderabad, Aug 1: The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh is set to see new caste dynamics influencing the state politics in the future. The Congress leadership in New Delhi has already started thinking on these lines and is reportedly planning to appoint Union tourism minister Chiranjeevi as the chief minister of the new state of Seemandhra following the division.

The Congress believes that the actor-turned-politician is the most viable face in these parts to take on YSR Congress chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy in the next assembly and Lok Sabha polls, both scheduled next year. Moreover, the fact that Chiranjeevi has a Kapu caste background has also moved the Congress more to back him.

vandalised-statue-andhra

The Kapu community is strong in the coastal Andhra region. It has a heavy presence in 16 out of 25 Lok Sabha constituencies. It is very strong in Vizianagaram, Anakapalle, Araku, Amalapuram, Rajahmundry, Kakinada, Narasapur, Machilipatnam and Eluru.

No Kapu leader has ever become the chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh although the community has a strong presence in the state. When NT Rama Rao became the chief minister in 1983, the Kapus backed him even though he was a Kamma for they felt the man would break the Reddys' domination in the state politics.

But Rao soon formed a Kamma elite and it left the Kapus more marginalised. They did not have any choice between the 'Kamma' Telugu Desam Party and 'Reddy' Congress and kept vacillating. The Congress, on its part, used the Kapu resentment factor to unsettle the TDP.

If a popular figure like Chiranjeevi becomes the chief minister of Seemandhra, then the Congress will secure a strong Kapu vote-bank and the contest between the Kapus and Kammas will get intense.

The decision on leadership will be, however, taken after the two states are formally set up. Sources said Churanjeevi will be the automatic choice if the current chief minister, Kiran Kumar Reddy resigns for he is one of the most vocal voices against the bifurcation of the state.

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