Now, PRP MLAs want merger with Congress

According to reports, at least five PRP MLAs held lengthy discussions in this regard with Allu Aravind, brother-in-law of the party supremo. 

For the past few weeks, there has been an exodus from the PRP to other parties with prominent leaders like T Devendar Goud and Tammineni Sitaram returning to their parent party, the Telugu Desam Party.

Following the poor performance of the PRP in the assembly elections, several well known faces left the party criticising the top leadership of running it like a family entity rather than a political outfit.

According to reports, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is behind this gameplan. Congress critics point out that YSR used the same strategy against the Telangana Rashtra Samiti in the 2004 elections which saw the Congress coming into power, joining hands with the TRS.

Within a year, one fourth of TRS MPs and MLAs were weaned away and subsequently it was even split with a top TRS leader floating his own party. Critics maintain that YSR is ready to pay any price this time too for two reasons. By weaning away PRP MLAs, he can strengthen the Congress, which has a wafer-thin majority in the assembly. Also, he can weaken the PRP and perhaps even push  it into shutting down.

On Wednesday night, five PRP MLAs are reported to have met Arvind with a proposal to merge the party with the Congress.

Arvind is said to have sought one month’s time to study the proposal and to hold consultations with others. A crucial issue to be studied would be Chiranjeevi’s future and how he can get out of the sticky situation in an honourable way without compromising his reputation and dignity.

However, PRP spokeswoman V Padma denied these reports and said this speculation was a “conspiracy” against the party. “There is no truth in the report. One or two MLAs may want to join the Congress or the TDP, but the party is not depending on them,” she said.

PRP supporters point out that the party cannot be written off considering it cornered 17 per cent of votes which amounted to seven million votes, although in terms of seats it won only 18 seats.

Chiranjeevi himself on Wednesday had told a media conference that all the legislators were with him. “Vested interests are working overtime to ensure that the party disintegrates at the earliest to prevent it from asserting itself as a strong opposition party,” he said.

Blaming the media for putting out different stories, he quipped that the next they might write that he too would join the Congress. Hours later, the group of pro-Congress legislators met Aravind with the merger proposal.

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