The Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) of Telugu actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi Monday formally merged with the ruling Congress party the in Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly.
Speaker Nadendla Manohar announced the formal merger of PRP with the Congress party. With this, the 17 PRP legislators would now be treated as ruling party legislators.
"Under Para 4 of Schedule X of the constitution, all 17 members of PRP will be recognised as Congress MLAs with immediate effect," the speaker said.
Both the parties had last week submitted to the speaker the documents relating to their merger after the Congress legislature party passed a resolution giving its nod for the merger.
The speaker's announcement brought down the curtains on the existence of the PRP, which was floated by Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi amid much fanfare and high expectations of his fans in August 2008, promising to provide an alternative to both the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party.
In the 2009 elections, the PRP finished poor third with 18 seats in 294-member assembly and drew a blank in Lok Sabha polls. One of its legislators later switched loyalties to the YSR Congress party.
It was immediately after the elections that then chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy had initiated the efforts for the PRP's merger with the Congress. After his death in a helicopter crash the same year, the Congress party resumed its efforts.
However, it was only in February last year that the Congress formally invited Chiranjeevi to merge his outfit. The actor accepted the offer after the Congress promised to protect the interests of his party leaders.
The Election Commission of India had approved the merger in June last year while Chiranjeevi and others took Congress membership in August.
Fulfilling one of the promises, the Congress inducted two legislators of PRP into the state cabinet in January. It is also likely to send Chiranjeevi to Rajya Sabha in the elections scheduled later this month. He is currently a state legislator from Tirupati.