Caste dynamics may change poll equation in AP

New Delhi, April 10 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh will vote for the state Assembly and Lok Sabha simultaneously on April 11 and caste arithmetic will again play a key role in deciding the winner. But it is to be seen if the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) would retain its hold over Kamma, Kappu and Other Backward Castes (OBCs) and whether its rival, the YSR Congress would get support from Reddy, Schedule Caste (SC), Muslims and Christians.

The state is witnessing a fierce contest between Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP which came to power in 2014 and YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR Congress even though the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and new entrant Jan Sena are expected to remain only a side show.

The TDP, which contested with the BJP in 2015, has 15 Lok Sabha MPs while the YSR Congress won seven seats and the BJP bagged three. The TDP got 106 out of 175 Assembly seats and formed the government.

A caste analysis of 2014 Lok Sabha election results shows that the TDP and the BJP got major support from Kamma, Kapu, OBC and Upper caste communities while the YSR Congress got a major share of Reddy, SC, Muslims and Christian votes.

The NDA’s vote share in 2014 general election was 29.10 per cent against 28.90 per cent of votes secured by the YSR Congress.

The dynamics has changed a bit in 2019. Kappus, influential in coastal region, had supported the TDP earlier, but this time there is a split in the community as some may rally behind new entrant Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party which has aligned with the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Left. The Kappus have been demanding reservation which was promised by the TDP but could not be delivered due to legal issues.

On the other hand, the YSR Congress is consolidating its position among the SC and OBC voters apart from the minorities.

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