BREAKING NEWS

Are faction and murder politics back in Andhra Pradesh?

There was a time in Andhra Pradesh in the early 70s upto early 80s where rivalries among factions and warring castes often resulted in vengeful murders. The Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh witnessed hurling of country bombs even at the slightest mistake of a rival. Such was the case then. 
However, a change in political scenario meant factionalism in the state slowly crept into the political space, perhaps, in an organised way. If one were to look at the Rayalaseema region, some prominent families (now in politics) have been involved in factionism. 
 
From Anantapur’s Paritala Ravi in the contemporary politics to Kurnool’s KE Krishnamurthy & Bhuma Family and Y.S. Raja Reddy (grandfather of the current CM of Andhra Pradesh), these names crop up every time there is a mention of faction-driven violence.
 
Of course, the most notorious stories come out from Kadapa from the Y.S. family. Especially, Y.S. Raja Reddy’s stories are known to be extremely violent and notorious! The Reddys in Kadapa had converted due to the benefits offered by the Christian missionaries during that time. However, they held onto their caste and practiced factional politics, being known as Christian Reddys. Y.S. Family, is one of the first, to have begun the trend of Christian Reddys in Andhra Pradesh. 
 
From Raja Reddy to Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy and now, Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, all of them are practising Christians. But, they still choose to side with caste and use it for practising their politics as the Reddy community, traditionally landholders, in the Telugu states wields a great influence financially. It is often said that the Y.S. Family has also normalised factionism in the democratic politics of Andhra Pradesh, thereby complicating the system further. 
 
If one looks at the political scenario in the last 20 years, following Paritala Ravi’s death, factionism in Rayalaseema region has been on the decline. Strict law and order during Nara Chandrababu Naidu and Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy’s rule as Chief Minister ensured there weren’t many incidents of factionist violence. However, with Jagan becoming the Chief Minister, there are rumours that the state is once again witnessing a growth in faction politics. 
 
With YSRCP already having most MLAs with a criminal background (some of whom have hardcore faction history), it is clear that there is a spike in factionism in the state. Now that many factionists have branched out in money-making operations like contracts, tenders, mining, smuggling, illicit liquor business and transport, it is easier to mobilise people and execute murders in an organised manner.  
 
Doubts began emerging when Jagan’s uncle Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy was murdered. That looked like an episode of extended faction war that fails to subside. From unexplained arrests of the Opposition party workers to uncouth behaviour in the legislative assembly, there is no dearth of passive violence from the ruling party members in the state. 
 
Several sources also confirm how there is rampant extortion and hooliganism parading as politics in and around Vizag under Jagan’s government. Unexplained murders of several TDP karyakartas following YSRCP’s government in the state also has been raising doubts on whether faction-driven violence is back in Andhra Pradesh again. 
 
With faction politics being more about revenge and egos, it is clear that Andhra Pradesh, under the current government, may continue to turn a blind eye even as killings rise in the name of rivalries and gang wars. We will have to wait and watch how much worse the state would turn before someone saves it from its own misery! 
 

Photo Gallery