The chances of Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) merging with the Congress in Andhra Pradesh brightened considerably on Thursday after a meeting of the party's MLAs and district unit chiefs gave complete carte blanche to Chiranjeevi to decide whether they should merge with the Congress or merely form an alliance.
“Chiranjeevi will meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi before the end of the week. We have not put forth any pre-conditions for the talks,” PRP leader C Ramachandraiah said.
“On its own, the PRP cannot deliver social justice, the plank on which it was formed. So we will welcome whatever decision Chiranjeevi takes on ties with the Congress,” Ramachandraiah added.
The Congress in Andhra badly needs the PRP on its side. It has 155 members in the 294-member house but is worried about the threat posed by former party MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the son of late chief minister YS Rajashekara Reddy.
At least 25-30 Congress legislators have openly pledged allegiance to Jagan, who quit the Congress in November last year.
Facing the threat of a no-confidence motion in the upcoming assembly session, the Kiran Kumar Reddy government will be on a sticky wicket if the Jagan suppoorters choose to vote against it, or even abstain. To keep the government safe, it needs to rope in the PRP, which has 18 legislators.
The PRP, however, is divided on what kind of relationship the party should forge with the Congress.While a majority of the legislators reportedly favour an outright merger, with an eye on getting ministerial berths, another group wants to go slow, try out an alliance first and gradually take it to the next level.