Who will the Kapus support this time?
After bifurcation, it was widely expected that YS Jagan would come to power in Andhra Pradesh. However, in a major upset, Chandrababu Naidu stole the show at the last minute with his trump card Pawan Kalyan. The Kapu community, by and large, heeded the words of Pawan Kalyan and voted for the TDP-BJP combine. Having said that, it is probably unfair to say that the Kapus voted for the TDP, only because of Pawan Kalyan. Since the murder of Vangaveeti Ranga, they had been staying away from the TDP. However, they backed the ‘cycle’ in 2014 because the new state of Andhra Pradesh needed an experienced administrator at the helm. Everyone expected Chandrababu to do a good job and probably, so did the Kapu community. Pawan Kalyan’s support further bolstered their view. But, in all honesty, Chandrababu’s four-year reign has been a massive disappointment. A majority of his pre-election promises continue to remain unfulfilled and the major one of providing reservations to the Kapus has been stuck in constitutional hassles along with vehement opposition from other backward communities. And finally, Pawan Kalyan himself has rebelled against the TDP and says his party is now willing to contest all 175 seats in the coming elections. On the other hand, YS Jagan is further consolidating his vote base with his Padayatra that has been immensely successful till date. Against this backdrop, who will the Kapus decide to vote for in 2019? It seems unlikely that despite the presence of several Kapu Ministers in the TDP government, they will back the TDP. This leaves the YSRCP and Jana Sena. Because of caste affiliation, they are expected to vote for the Jana Sena but YS Jagan has earned some credibility in these four years. Therefore, assuming that the Kapus vote for Jana Sena, even if a tiny percentage of them vote for YS Jagan, it will be a huge loss to the TDP and a huge advantage to YS Jagan. And simply put, even if the Kapus do not vote for the YSRCP at all, the latter would still gain because Jana Sena will be eroding TDP’s vote base.