Home / Politics & Governance / ANDHRA PRADESH ELECTIONS 2024: DYNASTY, CASTE & CLOUT


Last few months of hectic political activity in Andhra Pradesh whether it is for Lok Sabha elections or much discussed and debated State Assembly elections, has ruffled many feathers. There have been allegations and counter-allegations by various leaders, there has been a shift in loyalties and ideologies while embracing political alliances & allegiances with visible uneasiness.

People who do not belong to this region specifically, need to understand, this election is not about YCP v/s TDP-JSP-BJP or INC or their rivals and renewed alliances alone. It’s also an old story of dominance of state politics by powerful agrarian castes: Reddys, Kammas and Kapus.

Certainly! CASTE DYNAMICS play a significant role in Andhra Pradesh’s political landscape. Another important component in the Andhra Pradesh politics is, the RIVALRY between two prominent families: the YSR and NTR families.

Dominant Castes and Their Influence:

The dominant castes of Kapu, Kamma and Reddy communities wield considerable control over Andhra’s political affairs. A brief outlook –

  • The Kapu community, which includes subgroups like Kapus, Telagas, Balijas, and Vontaris, constitutes approximately 15.2% of the total population in the state. They are spread throughout Andhra Pradesh, with strongholds in the East and West Godavari districts and Uttarandhra. Over time, powerful Kapu leaders have lobbied with various political parties to secure their due share of seats and special reservations for the community. Leaders like P. Shiv Shankar, Vangaveeti Mohana Ranga, Jakkampudi Rammohan Rao and others have shaped the community’s political aspirations. The Kapu community supports multiple political parties, including the BJP, Congress, TDP, YSRC and Jana Sena.

The recent episodes involving Pawan Kalyan’s reactions against the YSRC government have sparked discussions about caste polarization. Both the BJP and Jana Sena are positioning themselves as champions of the Kapu community. Pawan Kalyan’s charisma and the community’s support could play a crucial role in the upcoming elections. The Kapu community’s ascendancy in Andhra Pradesh politics continues to evolve, and their voting patterns can significantly influence electoral dynamics.

  • The Kamma community, despite constituting about 5% of the state’s population which translates to around 44 lakhs individuals. It exercises considerable control over the political affairs of Andhra Pradesh. This community holds significant influence in terms of wealth, intelligence, and social prominence within the state.

The Kammas have historically been a dominant caste in Coastal Andhra, where they continue to own most of the land. Their migration to other regions and cities has allowed them to occupy key positions in the politics and economy of Andhra Pradesh. When the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) won elections in Andhra Pradesh, the Kamma control over State power helped them consolidate their influence. They also dominate the Telugu media and cinema, which gives them socio-cultural pre-eminence.

For the upcoming elections, out of the total candidates in the fray, 43 are from the Kamma community. The TDP-BJP-JSP alliance has fielded 34 Kamma candidates, while the ruling YSRCP has fielded 9. Thus, Kamma community continues to hold a prominent place in Andhra Pradesh politics, with a notable share of candidates and seats allocated to them in the state assembly elections

  • The Reddy community, constitutes about 8% of the state’s population. Despite their numerical minority, they have historically held significant political power and continue to do so. The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), led by Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, a member of the Reddy community, has been a dominant force in the state’s politics. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) also has historical ties with the Reddy community, winning seats in Reddy strongholds multiple times. In the 2024 elections, the Reddy community’s support is crucial for both the YSRCP and the TDP, as they vie for power in the state. Though has a smaller percentage of the population, it wields considerable influence in Andhra Pradesh’s politics. The community’s backing can significantly impact the electoral outcomes.

The upcoming elections in Andhra Pradesh reveal a trend of caste-based politics.  Candidates from the Kapu, Reddy and Reddy communities have emerged as frontrunners for unreserved seats. The ruling YSRCP and the NDA have allocated more than 80 seats to candidates from these dominant caste groups, further consolidating their hold on Andhra Pradesh’s political arena.

Backward Classes (BCs), comprising around 35% of the population, often find themselves overshadowed by the dominance of the Kamma and Reddy communities. The representation of backward classes in Andhra Pradesh politics has been a significant aspect.

For example – Neelishikaris, Kummari, Naibrahmin, Pusala, Uppari, Gajula and Pamulavallu are some of the castes within the backward classes that have not yet fully mobilized politically in Andhra Pradesh. Similarly, Yadavas, Goudas, Agnikula Kshatriyas and Nayi Brahmins feel, they don’t have adequate representation in the legislature and have sought greater political participation.

The political participation of backward classes in Andhra Pradesh has evolved over time, with constitutional amendments enhancing their representation. The ruling YSRCP (Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party) and the opposition NDA (TDP-JSP and BJP) both claims to support backward classes, but their actions suggest otherwise.

Party Affiliations and Caste Backing:

The YSRCP, associated with the Reddy community and the TDP traditionally linked to the Kamma community, engage in a power play fuelled by caste affiliations. The Jana Sena Party (JSP) founded by actor Pawan Kalyan is backed by the Kapus, a politically influential community in the state’s coastal areas.

The YSRCP aims to secure the vote bank of Dalits, while the TDP focuses on the OBCs. The TDP has also formed an alliance with the JSP to attract Kapu votes.

Family Dynamics in the Political Landscape:

Andhra Pradesh is a classic case study, a textbook case of political nepotism and dynasticism (parivaarvad).

  • NTR, YSR and ‘Megastar’ Chiranjeevi who founded his Praja Rajyam Party in 2008, later merging it with Congress, belong, respectively, to the Kamma, Reddy and Kapu castes.
  • Ex-Congress CM of undivided Andhra, late YSR Reddy’s children head YSRCP and Congress (AP), while NTR’s family heads TDP (Naidu is his son-in-law) as well as BJP’s AP unit (current state president Daggubati Purandeswari is NTR’s daughter).
  • Pawan Kalyan is Chiranjeevi’s brother.

Thus, family ties remain the biggest political capital.

Summary: The Caste Dynamics and the Family Dynamics followed by their rivalries as well as power struggles have left an indelible mark on Andhra Pradesh’s political landscape. With the voting day just round the corner, what impact these will have on the forthcoming Lok Sabha and Assembly elections is yet to be seen…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Previous Post

    Cyber Frauds: Dent in Indian Economy

    Next Post