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Caste politics is the name of the game

Highlights

Caste politics is the name of the game. Though caste-based polarization is not new in Indian politics, it assumes greater significance with each election because such patronization is the nearest to ensuing a traditional vote bank.

Same song, different tunes

Hyderabad: Though caste-based polarization is not new in Indian politics, it assumes greater significance with each election because such patronization is the nearest to ensuing a traditional vote bank.

It is a similar strategy that is being readied by each and every political party this time around. In a way, they are toeing what they believe is the winning mantra-keep the select flock happy and make hay.

In a bizarre irony there is a different approach for the two regions of Telangana and Seemandhra.

For instance, on the one hand the Telugu Desam Party (as also YSR Congress) is going all out to lure the Kapu community and Malas in Seemandhra while on the other the TDP (and Congress) is banking on BC and Madiga votes in Telangana.

The Kapu community constitutes over 15 per cent of total electorate in Seemandhra, which is so decisive a number that it can make or break the aspirations of any leader.

Kapus have been traditionally with the Congress, an equation that seems to have undergone a sea-change much to the discomfort of the Congress leaders who almost invariably took the vote bank for granted.

After the Congress lost its ground in the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh, TDP and YSR Congress are trying to cash in on the ‘golden opportunity’ by enticing the predominant Kapu community into their fold.

It was this very mindset that saw the TDP nominate T Sita Rama Laxmi as Rajya Sabha member in the recent biennial election while the YSR Congress has vowed to ensure BC status to Kapus.

In order to stem the rot following a collective disenchantment, the Congress has named K Chiranjeevi, who is a kapu, as the party’s election campaign committee chairman.

Meanwhile, Malas constitute about 11 per cent of the total voters in Seemandhra and hence their political significance. The TDP and YSR party promised effective implementation of SC, ST sub-plan besides empowering them politically and economically. It is ditto with Madigas, who constitute 14 per cent of the electorate in Telangana

Of course, nothing compares to the ultimate carrot that is being dangled by each party. If they have their way, one is made to believe that it will be a BC leader (irrespective of his party affiliation) who will be the chief minister, nothing more, nothing less.

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