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PRP may support Congress

delhi Updated: May 29, 2010 22:42 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times
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The Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) of Chiranjeevi is likely to support the Congress in the June 14 Rajya Sabha elections from Andhra Pradesh.

The two parties are believed to have reached an understanding at a meeting between Chiranjeevi and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday.

The Congress had sought out Chiranjeevi not only to avoid a contest but also to counter any attempt by the loyalists of Kadapa MP Jaganmohan Reddy to resort to cross voting in the elections.

Gandhi had two days ago invited Chiranjeevi for talks after it became apparent that Jagan was in defiant mood.

Jaganmohan, son of former Andhra chief minister late YSR Reddy, had defied the Congress high command directive and gone ahead with his ‘Odarpu yatra’, a tour to console families of those who committed suicide in the wake of his father’s death in a helicopter crash last September.

Chiranjeevi’s nod came after Gandhi requested him not to field any PRP candidate in the Rajya Sabha elections.

However, the actor-turned-politician refused to make his party’s stand public. “The Congress president requested me to withdraw PRP candidate from Rajya Sabha polls. I told her that I will discuss the issue with party leaders and get back in two days,” Chiranjeevi said after his 30-minute meeting.

The support of PRP, with 18 legislators in the 294-member Andhra assembly, would ensure not only a comfortable fourth seat for the Congress but the party could also explore options for one more berth in the RS. The Congress with 156 legislators is set to win four seats on its own while the TDP with 92 members will get two seats.

Ahead of his meeting, Chiranjeevi and PRP strategist C Ramachandraiah held talks with Moily and Congress chief’s political secretary Ahmed Patel.

It is understood that the Congress brass has assured Chiranjeevi it would help the PRP get one of its members elected to the RS at a later date.

Chiranjeevi ruled out merger of PRP with the Congress.