A desperate Congress, hemmed in by YSRC and TDP, and with TRS snapping at its heels, is giving shape to a new caste combination for the next general elections.
Andhra Pradesh seems to be set to witness a new combination of caste politics. If the recent Cabinet expansion at the Centre is anything to go by, it is evident that the Congress has adopted a different strategy to win as many Lok Sabha seats and Assembly seats as possible with a new permutation in caste politics.
The strategy is to create a never-before tried vote-bank for the Congress, as its arch rival YSRC seems to be drawing away quite a chunk of minorities and backward castes. The TDP has appropriated the backward castes by promising the moon.
The new combination works like this: Kapu, scheduled caste, and scheduled tribe. The ruling Congress thinks that the new formula could work as its trump card in the next general elections. The leaders belonging to these castes — K Chiranjeevi, S Satyanarayana and Balram Naik — were inducted into the Union Cabinet during the recent Cabinet expansion as part of the strategy.
While confirming the move, the minister for secondary education K Parthasarathy said the party has to try out a new support base as its traditional base has been eroded thanks to the machinations of the YSRC and TDP. “Yes, we are doing it. There is nothing wrong in going ahead with the fresh caste combination. Our aim is to win the next general elections. We will do whatever is required to sail through the elections,” Parthasarathy told Postnoon on Wednesday. Some senior Congress leaders said the party was forced to adopt this political strategy in the wake of strong resistance from rival political parties like Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress and their assurances to the people.
“TDP and YSR Congress have forced us to look for alternatives. We think the new combination can be a strong alternative for us,” one senior party leader told Postnoon.
Strong caste equation
According to a rough estimate, the Kapu community consists of 15 per cent of the total population of the State, whereas the SC community consists of nearly 17 per cent. The total population of ST community stands at seven per cent. If the Congress succeeds in wooing these communities, it would not only give tough competition to its rivals in the General Elections but also win substantial number of Assembly and Lok Sabha seats.
Minorities left out
But in the process of creating a new vote-bank, the ruling Congress has left out the minority communities of the State. There is a strong feeling among Congress leaders that the minority communities, especially Muslims and Christians, would side with the YSR Congress. “The recent bypolls in the State is evidence to it. Most of the minorities voted for YSR Congress and ignored our party. We may lose the elections if we depend on minorities completely,” a Congress leader said.