Kapus hold key for victory in Coastal Andhra Pradesh

Voters in a YSRCP election campaign in coastal Andhra Pradesh.

The word “Kapu” means protector in Telugu. True to its meaning the predominantly agrarian caste which constitutes around 15% of the 5 cr population of the state of Andhra Pradesh can decide the fate of a political party if they unite.

However, Kapus are stratified into smaller castes and sub-castes making them one of the most unreliable voters when compared to Kammas and Reddys who are less than 5% of the population but are decisive when it comes to elections.
While the Ruling Telugudesam Party (TDP) is identified as a party of Kammas, the Reddys patronized Congress and now the YSR Congress party led by YS Jaganmohan Reddy. Both the parties have allocated a big chunk of their seats to the top communities and Kapus were left to the mercy of major political parties. However, in the ensuing elections, there is the Janasena Party led by Pawan Kalyan, a Kapu by caste.
“There are 34 seats in both East and West Godavari districts alone out of 175 Assembly seats. If they vote en-block to a political party then no one can stop that party from winning AP elections,” Narsapuram Loksabha candidate Raghurama Krishnam Raju of YSRCP told DH. Raju believes that the community this time has decided to vote for YSRCP. He points out that even the backward classes particularly the Gouds and Setti Balijas have taken a vow to vote for Jaganmohan Reddy just to give him a chance.
The decision to go with YSRCP was taken during the Sankranthi festival when all the families reach home and participate in such community-level meetings prevalent in Coastal Andhra Pradesh. However, in Bhimavaram assembly segment where Pawan Kalyan is contesting, the other candidates Anjaneyulu of TDP and Granthi Srinivas of YSRCP are also from the Kapu community. “The Kapus will split the anti-incumbency vote benefiting TDP,” TDP candidate Anjaneyulu says.
“The problem is the division of Kapu votes. It happened even during the Praja Rajyam Party of actor K Chiranjeevi (brother of Pawan Kalyan). The elusive “Kapu Vote” was the reason for Chiranjeevi’s defeat and the merger of the PRP with Congress,” Boddu Venugopal, a TDP Kapu leader said. The TDP is banking on the 5% reservation it gave in the economically weaker sections category and the Kapu Corporation it has set up. 

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