Friday, November 7, 2008

Elections set to redraw battle lines in coastal belt

‘Yuvagarjana’s Grand Success Is An Indication That The All-Powerful Kamma Lobby Is Set To Sail With TDP
News published inTimes of India
Hyderabad/Guntur: It appears that the massive success of TDP’s Yuvagarjana is all set to redraw the battle lines — mainly on caste basis — in the coastal region ahead of the 2009 elections. “Though there were people from other communities also at the meeting, it was mainly the convergence of Kammas which clinched the issue in favour of the TDP and made the meeting a largely successful affair,” admitted a BC leader of the party. He said the traffic on the national highway held up for over 12 hours was in itself a resounding indication of the Yuvagarjana success. But what made the Yuvagarjana special this time round when compared to NTR’s ‘Simhagarjana’ of 1994? Sources told TOI that the Kamma brigade, especially the youth, played a crucial role in mobilising the crowds to the Yuvagarjana meeting. “Without their enthusiasm, the ground opposite the ANU campus couldn’t have turned into a yellow ocean,” an insider close to district party chief Pulla Rao said.

Source said not only the party leadership had rushed senior leaders to the district much in advance to monitor the arrangements, but the preparatory meetings in the Kamma-dominant villages have come in handy for the mobilisation of the crowds, which according to some estimates had even swelled beyond 10 lakhs. Sociologically, Kapus have been the arch rivals of Kammas in the region where even the politically strong Reddys sail with the Kammas. But, the advent of Chiranjeevi on the political stage has changed the equations in the coastal villages as the youth from the politically alienated communities have started challenging the traditional satraps, resulting in serious conflict of interests at the grassroots level, an analyst said.

“The next elections are going to throw new challenges to the administration as all the three powerful sections are more than eager to snatch power,” commented a senior police official. In spite of clear division between the Kammas and Reddys at the village level, the leaders worked together resulting in ‘peaceful’ elections in the region in 2004 as except for a few violent incidents in Palnadu region, there were no major law and order problems.

However, it won’t be the same this time round as the electorate are being polarised on caste lines. “Yuvagarjana will surely help the TDP to bounce back, particularly in the coastal region, where it had tasted humiliating defeats in the last couple of years,” observed R Subramanyam, a retired principal. TDP senior leader Yanamala Ramakrishnudu hit the nail when he said the ‘countdown’ for the doom of the Congress government both at the Centre and in the state has begun with the Yuvagarjana success. “The crowd turnout has only strengthened our belief that it’s only a matter of time before the corrupt YSR government is swept out of power,” he added.

‘We are one family’: Defending their stance on supporting Chandrababu Naidu, TDP politburo member and NTR’s son Harikrishna said they do not want to dig into the past. Speaking to reporters here on Thursday, Harikrishna alleged that Congress leaders were behind their sister Purandareswari’s open letter to them.

“We have very high regard for her. We always wish her success wherever she is. To be frank, we are one as a family. We are divided only on political lines as she is Daggubati Purandareswari in political life,” said Harikrishna.
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