Once dominated by Kshatriyas, the segment saw power equation tilting in favour of Kapus, post-delimitation

Bhimavaram Assembly constituency, the pivot of blue revolution characterized by an aquaculture boom in West Godavari district, has been a testing ground for politics and business since independence.

Be it election or cockfight, betting with high stakes has become a way of life for the segment comprising Bhimavaram Urban, Rural and Veeravasaram mandals and caste equations largely holds the key here. Kshatriyas, although negligible in number, continued to have a sway over the segment till 2004.

They, however, had lost the ground post-delimitation, with the exclusion of Palakoderu, which has the community in sizeable numbers, from the constituency.

Then the power equation tilted in favour of Kapus who became numerically stronger with the inclusion of Veeravasaram mandal in the delimitation process.

As a result of the change in the social composition of the constituency, Grandhi Srinivas, a Kapu, became the MLA on the Congress ticket in 2009.

The Kapus with around 50,000 votes are the largest community while the Settibalijas constitute the second largest caste.

Voters’ profile

As a whole, the Backward Classes are the predominant community number-wise, but remains out of the realm of political power for want of unity. The division in the Kshatriya community came after a triangular contest in the 2009 polls, involving Gaderaju Satyanarayana Raju (TDP), Vegesna Kanakaraju (PRP), both Kshatrias, and Pulaparthi Anjaneyulu a Kapu (Congress), as the Kapus wrested for the Kshatriya-dominated seat for the first time.

In the race

The political landscape has undergone a tremendous change after the 2009 election, thanks to the Samaikyandhra movement which has literally crippled the Congress. Mr. Anjaneyulu, who switched loyalty to the TDP in pursuit of greener pastures, is all set to take on his fellow-community leader Grandhi Srinivas from the YSRC. Left with no option, the Congress is trying to field Yarlagadda Ramu alias Chepala Ramu, a Christian convert and a novice in politics.

The town with hardly 60,000 people has transformed itself into a financial hub of the district with prosperity heralding by the aquaculture boom and became a preferred destination for the markets for automobile, hospitality and textiles to experiment with their brand new products, thanks to the emergence of the neo-rich class.