More senior Congress leaders in Andhra Pradesh have quit the party in apprehension of a tie-up with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the state, like in neighbouring Telangana. The Congress state unit, however, denied that any such alliance was planned. On Saturday, former minister Pasupuleti Balaraju quit and joined the Jana Sena party in the presence of its chief and actor Pawan Kalyan in Vijayawada. Earlier, Nadella Manohar, a former assembly speaker of undivided Andhra Pradesh, had shared the dais with Kalyan and termed himself as a “true jana sainik”. After TDP leader and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Congress president Rahul Gandhi met in Delhi and stressed the need for the opposition to unite against the Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2019 general elections, two former Congress ministers—Vatti Vasanth Kumar and C. Ramachandraiah— quit on November 4. Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president N. Raghuveera Reddy said he has no indications from his party top brass on any alliance with the TDP in the state. On the leaders leaving the Congress, he said it was “their freedom and wisdom” to remain in the Congress or to move out.Meanwhile, megastar and former Union minister K. Chiranjeevi, who is the elder brother of the Jana Sena chief, has been keeping away from active politics since the bifurcation of the state, even skipping rallies addressed by Gandhi in the state. His Rajya Sabha membership ended on March 31 this year and he was not fielded again by the Congress. Sources close to Chiranjeevi said the megastar is busy in shooting of the film “Sira Narasimha” which expected to hit the screens on Makara Sankranti.Asked whether Chiranjeevi, whose fans association has merged with the Jana Sena earlier this year, will quit the Congress, a party leader said, “Is he in our party in the first place?”Most of the leaders leaving the Congress now seem to be gravitating towards the fledgling Jana Sena, despite that the TDP and the YSR Congress being more established parties. “It’s because of the fact that Pawan has become a rallying point for youth and harbinger of change with the potential to alter the present political equations. Huge gatherings during Pawan’s events across the state send out clear signs in this direction”, Manohar told Hindustan Times.Political analyst K. Nageswar however said the latest migrations from the Congress to Pawan Kalyan’s party are just part of “seat-guarantee” plans. “When the TDP and the Congress are packed with several aspirants in each of 175 Assembly segments, Jana Sena is an unexplored terrain giving hope to turncoats with their future bleak in Congress”, he said. Earlier, former union ministers Kavuri Sambhasiva Rao and Daggubati Purandhareswari switched from Congress to the Bharatiya Janata Party in a bid to revive their political careers, while JC Diwakar Reddy joined the TDP and Botsa Satyanarayana the YSR Congress with the same bid.