Caste will be a factor in Telangana too
The Congress hopes to complete the formation of Telangana before the next elections. This would mean that they would need a strategy in place when the fight the elections. Beyond any reasonable doubt the prime focus would be on telling the people of Telangana that they are the ones who made a dream into a reality by granting a separate state.
The Congress is not known to project a Chief Ministerial candidate, but the lobbying has already commenced. The Congress may have granted Telangana, but will need to be very careful while choosing its leader since there is a lot of caste equation that is at play in Telangana.
The Backward Class comprise 57 per cent of population while the SC’s are around 22 per cent. The minorities are at 7 per cent in the Telangana region. The Backward Class and the SC’s are the ones that any party would need to please during the forthcoming elections. These caste equations will be in play only if Telangana is formed with ten districts. However if the government decides to go in for a Rayal-Telangana then the equations would change dramatically. However this is an unlikely scenario.
The Backward Class and the SC’s are very clear that they want a candidate from their community to head the government. They have very often complained about the Upper castes being the only ones getting a chance to rule the government in united Andhra Pradesh. Once Telangana is formed they would want their leader.
The four names that are in the fray are Jaipal Reddy, K Chandrasekara Rao, Damodar Raja Narasimha and D Srinivas.
Jaipal Reddy since the past five years has been an open supporter of the Telangana movement. According to many Congress leaders, he did a lot of lobbying in New Delhi for the formation of Telangana and many experts say that he moved like a rocket on this issue in the last couple of months. Journalists in Andhra Pradesh say that his body language today is very different. He used to shy away from the media, but now he is on a spree giving out interviews and wishes to be in the focus all the time. While he would be the choice of the High Command for the post of CM, the problem is with the BC/SC who would oppose him since he is from the upper caste. If the high command is adamant that Reddy would be CM, then they would be careful not to project him as the leader before and during the elections.
The BC’s in Telangana are behind D Srinivas who is from the same caste. He was the Congress chief in Andhra Pradesh. He has been in favour of the Telangana state for a long time and he is accepted by the BCs who have a huge voting population.
Damodar Raja Narasimha is backed by the SC’s. He was made the Deputy Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in order to keep the Telangana movement quiet for sometime. He has been open about his support for the cause and during the last presentation given in New Delhi, he pushed for the formation of the state.
The case of KCR is entirely dependant on a tie up or merger with the Congress. He is acceptable to the people since many still do have a sentimental feeling towards him. However he is unsure about his own party’s performance in the next elections considering Telangana has been announced. As many would say he was the strongest as long as Andhra Pradesh was united as he had a cause to fight. If he merges with the Congress will he be made the Chief Minister? That is a million dollar question.