The efforts of Congress to cosy up to Praja Rajyam Party president Chiranjeevi started even when late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was alive, a senior Congress MLA said on Sunday.
"I have good ties with Chiranjeevi. In fact, late Rajasekhara Reddy himself told me to be in touch with Chiranjeevi. But, it could not take off due to some media reports," J C Diwakar Reddy, also a former minister, said.
Though the buzz that Chiranjeevi would eventually join hands or merge his party with Congress had been doing the rounds for long, it became a reality with the actor-turned-politician meeting Sonia Gandhi yesterday on her invitation.
Against the backdrop of Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy's open defiance of the Congress high command's directive not to go ahead with his 'Odarpu yatra', Gandhi has asked Chiranjeevi not to field his candidate in the Rajya Sabha polls.
Chiranjeevi assured the Congress President that he would get back within two days after holding talks with party leaders.
Though the PRP chief said his party is not averse to an understanding with Congress, he has ruled out any merger.
Congress leaders feel an understanding with PRP will help in reining in Jagan Mohan, whose defiance has led to apprehensions in the party of a possible split, if not in the near future but couple of years down the line.
Diwakar Reddy's comments are likely to blunt possible opposition from the Jagan camp to the Congress' attempts to ally with PRP.