Capital ideas firm up on caste lines

Highlights

Capital Ideas Firm Up On Caste Lines. Even as the Central government is proceeding with the division of the State, the leaders of Seemandhra are fighting for their supremacy along caste lines in the new State.

Three dominant castes want capital in their strongholds
Kammas favour capital between Guntur and Vijayawada
Reddys want it either in Kurnool or close to Ongole
Kapus want the capital located close to Eluru

Vijayawada: Even as the Central government is proceeding with the division of the State, the leaders of Seemandhra are fighting for their supremacy along caste lines in the new State.

According to highly placed sources, the Congress and other Samaikyandhra leaders, including MPs, who were able to stall the division proceedings in December 2009, are not able to do so after the July 30 decision of the Congress Working Committee only because of the caste war among themselves.

They are raring for a major pie in power. Caste combinations in Seemandhra, particularly in the ruling Congress, have changed with the merger of Praja Rajyam Party led by film actor K Chiranjeevi. The Chiranjeevi factor which was absent in the pre- and post-December 2009 developments, is playing a crucial role this time.

It is said that the division of the State is likely to hit the domination of Reddy community that has been at the helm in Andhra even before merger with Telangana in 1956.

With Telangana now becoming a new State, the Reddy leaders are worried about their future and fear that their dominance would be reduced to a few districts of Kadapa, Kurnool, Nellore, Prakasam and Palnadu region of Guntur district.

It is for this reason that they are insisting on the capital location either in Kurnool or around Ongole in Prakasam district.

The Kammas, who have gained an upper hand in the State politics with the emergence of Telugu Desam in 1982, are insisting on the capital between Vijayawada and Guntur. The community is strong in Chittoor, Anantapur, Krishna, Guntur and parts of Prakasam and West Godavari districts.

The Congress, which has high hopes on the popularity of the film star and the strength of his caste in Coastal Andhra, is learned to have subscribed to his views of getting Kapu community support for the party.

The community is in a dominant position in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts, and wishes to have the capital close to Eluru to establish their hold over the new State. It is said that the Kapu leaders have promised to get the support of the community for the Congress, if the leadership (Chief Ministership) of the new State is given to them.

The emergence of strong Kapu factor has alerted the other two castes which have got into the act, thus triggering a caste war this time unlike in 2009, a senior leader revealed. Whether the Congress high command would go by mere caste factors or judge locations for capital on their own merits remains to be seen.

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