One of the oft-heard observations during the election campaign was that the Chandrababu Naidu regime was a Kamma Rajyam. The perception was that Naidu’s community gained far more than others did, creating a sense of animosity and a ganging up against the Telugu Desam.
The YSR Congress was able to ride on this discontent, promising that under Jaganmohan Reddy, everyone would get a fair deal. That’s one of the reasons why Jagan inducted five deputy chief ministers, one each from SC, ST, BC, minorities and Kapu community even though it has been seen as a cosmetic measure.
Post-mortem within the TDP have pointed to Kamma plus becoming a minus for the party. But Naidu is not convinced. And he has pointed to his own Kuppam constituency to disprove those who are propounding the Kamma theory.
Naidu’s argument is that he would have lost in Kuppam if TDP was only a Kamma party. The former CM has reportedly pointed out that of the 2 lakh voters in Kuppam, only 1000 are Kammas. Naidu was elected for the seventh consecutive time in 2019.
Naidu is partially wrong and he only needs to look closely at the figures to know why. In the 2014 assembly elections, the voter turnout was 1.64 lakh and Naidu got 62.5 per cent of the vote, winning by a margin of over 47000 votes.
This time, there was a surge in the polling percentage. 1.81 lakh of Kuppam’s electorate turned up to cast their vote but Naidu’s share of the vote dipped to 55 per cent and his majority shrunk to 30000 votes. In contrast, K Chandramouli, the YSRCP candidate both in 2014 and 2019, got 14000 votes more this time.
One reason Naidu won is that he is the tallest among the state leaders along with Jagan and at an individual level, enjoys pan-community appeal. The same cannot be said about his party or its other candidates.
Categories: Political Pickle