Andhra heading for uneasy caste war

Chiru AP_0_0.jpg

Hyderabad: Senior Congress leaders at the Centre are apparently mulling with the idea of appointing Union tourism minister Chiranjeevi as the Chief Minister of the new state of Seemandhra after bifurcation.
The party high command thinks that apart from Chiranjeevi, there are no other mass leaders in the party to take on YSR Congress chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy in the upcoming elections. The party leadership also agrees that his caste will be an advantage.
The Congress will, however, decide on the leadership issue after the two states are formed. Sources said that if Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy does not agree to continue in the post, Chiranjeevi would then be the automatic choice.
Caste factor will play a big role in the coastal area where the Kapu community is strong. In Seemandhra, out of the 25 Lok Sabha seats, the Kapu community has a heavy presence in 16. In nine Lok Sabha constituencies (Araku, Vizianagaram, Anakapalle, Kakinada, Amalapuram, Rajahmundry, Narasapur, Eluru and Machilipatnam) the community is at number one. In Visakhapatnam, Guntur and Narasarao Pet Lok Sabha constituencies, it ranks second and in Srikakulam, Vijayawada and Rajampet constituencies it ranks number three.
There has never been a Chief Minister from the Kapu community in the history of AP though community leaders have often asked the Congress high command to choose someone from their community as the CM. The community has thus been supporting the Congress in one election and the TD in the next.
Keeping this in view, if Chiranjeevi was to be made CM, the entire Kapu community would support the Congress, said a former MLA. In the coastal area, the Kammas dominate. The Kammas traditionally support the TD. If Chiranjeevi is made CM, it will be a fight between the Kapus and the Kammas in the next polls.

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