Wooing the Kapus: The race for the community’s votes is hotting up though elections are 2 years away

As Jagan Mohan Reddy woos Kapu women with handouts, TDP chief Naidu looks to Pawan Kalyan to make inroads into the community.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Aug 01, 2022 | 3:26 PMUpdatedAug 02, 2022 | 12:23 PM

YSRCP Kapu Nestham

Though elections are still about two years away, the ruling YSRC in Andhra Pradesh is already on the job to corner a large share of the Kapu pie, as the community is a deciding factor in any election in Andhra Pradesh.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, keen on retaining the Kapu block, recently doled out cash to Kapu women in the name of YSR Kapu Nestam at a function organised at Gollaprolu in Kakinada district. Under this scheme, the chief minister had dispersed ₹508.1 crore to 3.38 lakh beneficiaries at the rate of ₹15,000 per woman, for the third year in a row.

The chief minister, while reeling out the schemes that he had implemented for their welfare, took potshots at his bete noir and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu for working in cohorts with Jana Sena chief and film actor Pawan Kalyan to win over the Kapus.

He had described Pawan Kalyan as the adopted son of Chandrababu Naidu and that the former is now ready to “sell” the Kapu votes to the former chief minister.

Jagan Mohan Reddy, obviously wants to prevent, at any cost, the Kapu votes from going the TDP way, as he believes that the Jana Sena would finally find itself on the TDP’s page.

As Jagan Mohan Reddy tries to woo Kapus, the BJP on its part is also making attempts to nibble at the communitiy’s votes though it is not yet in a position to claim any major share in it.

This was probably the reason why when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Bhimavaram recently for the unveiling of freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju’s statue, he showered a lot of affection on Chiranjeevi, who is Pawan Kalyan’s brother.

It is no-brainer that the prime minister wanted Chiranjeevi to be on his side in the wake of the signals that Pawan Kalyan might join hands with Chandrababu Naidu.

It is not yet known whether Chiranjeevi would play along as it would mean he would find himself fighting it out with his brother in the electoral battlefield. It is also not known if Chiranjeevi has any political ambitions after he had burnt his fingers with his Praja Rajyam, which he merged with Congress subsequently.

In fact, Jagan Mohan Reddy, to deal a pre-emptive blow on Pawan Kalyan, had tried to woo Chiranjeevi in the past when controversy raged over allowing the film industry to hike the price of the tickets for high-budget films for a specific period time immediately after their release.

At that time, Pawan Kalyan, who is always irrepressible, spoke harshly against Jagan Mohan Reddy warning that if he set his sights on the film industry, he would turn into ashes. This led to ruffling the chief minister’s feelings no end.

Jagan Mohan Reddy tried to besot Chiranjeevi by inviting him for lunch at his residence in Tadepalli near Vijayawada where Reddy’s wife personally served food to Chiranjeevi, which the latter had acknowledged publicly.

After the event, the speculation mill ran overtime that Jagan Mohan Reddy was trying to use Chiranjeevi to corner the Kapu vote bank but later there were no signals from Chiranjeevi that he might play along with the BJP.

Now that Jagan Mohan Reddy is again ministering the Kapus with his schemes, the Jana Sena is feeling a little flustered. An angry Jana Sena leader Nadendla Manohar shot back at Jagan Mohan Reddy for resorting to divisive politics at a time when the state was reeling under the impact of floods.

Manohar said: “Forgetting that he was addressing a meeting in his capacity as the chief minister, Jagan Mohan Reddy tried to turn Kapus away from Pawan Kalyan. Unable to face Pawan Kalyan on a political plane, the chief minister had stooped to the level of trying to wean away Kapus at a time when he was supposed to ensure that people would sink their narrow caste considerations and live in harmony.

It will be interesting to see on whose side the Kapus decide to be in the next election.