Telangana

Castes call the shots in Huzurabad bypoll

Some may not agree that caste plays crucial role in deciding winner in an election.

Irrespective of one’s opinion, candidates and their ‘behind-the-scene’ strategists are concentrating on how to secure maximum votes from castes that have large number of voters in Huzurabad byelection. While contestants of main political parties are occupied with door-to-door campaign as curtains will be drawn on canvassing in eight days, persons ‘in-charge’ of their victory and strategists are completely engaged catching leaders of the castes that matter.

For them, castes with more voters are most important now. Leaders of communities that can influence people of other sections are even more important. To approach voters of these communities, parties are picking up leaders from those castes and sending them to convince ‘voters of their respective castes’.

Naturally, ruling parties, at Centre or State, are at an advantage on this point. These parties are sending their leaders, who are wielding power by virtue of their positions, ‘for talks’ with people of their communities.

“A powerful politician of my caste asked me to find out with my community voters if they are facing problems from any government officials connected to our profession,” Sitaram Goud (name changed) of erstwhile Karimnagar district said. The politician was given a car with driver to move in the constituency and meet his community voters.

Food and accommodation was also taken care of by the party. The ‘issues raised in the talks’ were conveyed by the party leaders to Excise officials concerned. They would ‘solve the matters’ ‘then and there’ by giving clear assurances.

Internal caste meetings are being organised exhorting voters to cast their votes en mass to a particular candidate, Sometimes this is being done openly with politicians themselves releasing photos of a local community leaders pledging entire community support to their respective nominees.

Going a step ahead, conventions of different castes like Reddy Garjana, Gouda Garjana, Kapu Garjana, Erukala Garjana were already held. During Reddy Garjana meeting attended by ministers Sabitha Indra Reddy and Prashanth Reddy along with Speaker P. Srinivas Reddy, the participants were assured of creation of a Reddy corporation to extend financial assistance to the poorest in the community.

“What is wrong in it? There are poor people in forward communities as well. So we too are asking a share in government’s assistance,” said Srinivas Reddy (name changed), a farmer from Challuru, who attended the meeting. While such meetings of castes having considerable strength were already held separately, a Backward Classes meeting is scheduled to be held on Thursday.

Curiously, all these meetings are held at a centre in Penchikalapet on outskirts of Huzurabad town coming under Hanamkonda district. Organisers chose this place since it would not attract election code. “In fact, Dalit Bandhu is planned with sole purpose of securing dalit voters in Huzurabad bypoll. Nothing can be more glaring,” said some BJP leaders.

There are different surveys conducted by individuals and organisations about the estimated number of voters, households and population of each community in Huzurabad constituency. In addition to information collated from socio-economic survey conducted by government earlier, some agencies have been engaged to collect caste data and analyse it.

“Wooing voters on caste basis is a bad precedent. Such election strategies would further divide society,” said retired government official Padmanabha Reddy of Forum for Good Good Governance. If such actions continue, politicians would even allot funds based on the strengths of castes, he said.


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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 5:13:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/castes-call-the-shots-in-huzurabad-bypoll/article37075025.ece

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