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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Kapus, 27% and key to Seemandhra

Kapus are spread all over Seemandhra but concentrated mainly in East and West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts.

Written by Janyala Sreenivas | Hyderabad |
May 6, 2014 12:41:03 am

A community representing over a quarter of Seemandhra holds the key to the region and is being wooed by both prime contenders. The YSRCP and the TDP have been making various promises and assurances to the Kapus, who make up 27 per cent of the population, but neither is sure which way the community will swing.

Kapus are spread all over Seemandhra but concentrated mainly in East and West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts. The YSRCP has fielded Kapus in 30 of the 175 assembly seats and six of the 25 Lok Sabha seats. The TDP has fielded 29 and four, and the Congress 27 and four.

Kapus have traditionally voted for the Congress. They supported N T Rama Rao when the TDP was launched in 1983, but returned to the Congress in subsequent elections. In 2009, their votes made it possible for actor-turned-politician K Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party to win 18 seats. All the Congress’s Kapu candidates, too, won in those elections. But since Chiranjeevi merged his PRP with the Congress, the Kapus have been bitter and angry.

If the Kapus shift to the YSRCP, it could ensure a clean sweep. TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu has been trying to prevent that by promising a Kapu deputy chief minister if the TDP comes to power. He has also assured a second deputy chief minister from the BC community.

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Since 2009, the Kapus have become divided and are expected not to vote uniformly across districts these elections. In organisations such as the Kapunadu and the Andhra Pradesh State Kapunadu, office-bearers are speaking in different voices. Vijayawada leader Pilli Venkateshwara Rao has declared support to the YSRCP, while Chittor leader Vedavati Royal has declared support to the TDP.

Kapunadu Political Action Committee convener PLV Prasad Rao says Kapus should vote for all Kapu candidates irrespective of party. “All parties have fielded 25 to 30 Kapu assembly candidates. We must ensure all of them win so that whichever party forms the government, we have a good representation,’’ Prasad Rao says.

Venkateshwara Rao says since the YSRCP has fielded the highest number of Kapu candidates, the community should support it. And Vedavati Royal notes that the TDP’s manifesto and Naidu assure social justice and a Kapu deputy CM, so they should support them.

Popular actor K Pawan Kalyan, a Kapu, has been roped in by the BJP’s Narendra Modi to campaign for the TDP-BJP after the actor declared his support for Modi.

Pawan Kalyan is a younger brother of K Chiranjeevi. And it was again because of the importance of the Kapu vote that the Congress elevated Chiranjeevi just before the elections to head its campaign along with another Kapu leader, Kanna Lakshminarayana, a former minister.

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