With just a week left for the elections in Andhra Pradesh, Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) on Thursday suffered another major jolt with a key leader resigning and levelling allegations of corruption against the party.
Prakala Prabhakar, party spokesman and an intellectual face in the party, quit amid high drama. He handed over his resignation to the staff at the PRP office here and then launched a bitter attack on the leadership without naming anyone.
Alleging that the PRP was spreading poison, he termed the party a "company" and said the allegations made by several others were true to a large extent.
"There are certain undesirable elements in the party. They have cheated people. I don't know why they did this," said Prabhakar, speaking from the party office.
The party hit back at Prabhakar.
Addressing a news conference here in the night, Chiranjeevi's brother-in-law and PRP general secretary Allu Aravind alleged that Prabhakar made baseless allegations as he was an aspirant for the party ticket for the Narsapuram Lok Sabha seat but had no "roots among people".
"How dare he use the PRP office after his resignation and make such allegations against the party. He has no morals," said an emotional Aravind while denying allegations that the party sold tickets for this month's assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
"It was Prabhakar who spread poison in the guise of sweet talk," said Aravind while reacting to his branding PRP as a "poisonous tree".
Aravind, an eminent film producer, threw a challenge at his critics to prove the allegation that he sold tickets. "We have given tickets to 104 candidates from backward classes. How many of them have the capacity to pay," said Aravind, who is contesting for the Lok Sabha from Ankapalli constituency.
Prabhakar's exit is the second jolt to the party after last week's resignation of C Anjaneya Reddy, a former police officer, who was the party's vice president.
Dozens of leaders have quit the PRP in the last two weeks to protest the manner in which nominations were given for the assembly and Lok Sabha polls.
Prabhakar, who was earlier with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and worked as an anchor for a TV channel, made a dramatic appearance at the PRP office with his supporters.
He handed over the one-line resignation and addressed a press conference from the same podium he had used as spokesman for media briefings.
"I am a partner in their sin of raising hopes among people that the PRP will bring change. To wash off this sin, I am walking out," he said.