PRP’s merger will strengthen Congress: Andhra chief minister

Sunday, February 6, 2011

HYDERABAD - Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Sunday welcomed the merger of Telugu superstar K. Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) with the Congress and said this would strengthen the state’s ruling party.

Congratulating Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the merger of PRP, he said the merger had provided an opportunity to work together for the welfare of the poor and the development of the state.

State Congress chief D. Srinivas said the merger would be an added advantage to the Congress party.

“We heartily welcome the merger of PRP with Congress. It will be an additional benefit to the party,” Srinivas told reporters.

He, however, claimed that the party was already strong. “We are already quite strong. This merger will be an added advantage,” he said.

Srinivas said the formalities of the merger would be completed after Chiranjeevi returns to Hyderabad. He promised that all 18 legislators of PRP would get full protection in the party and would be treated on par with other party legislators.

Srinivas said the protagonists of separate Telangana state need not have any apprehensions over the merger just because Chiranjeevi was opposed to the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. “There are many within the Congress who want the state to remain united,” said Srinivas, who himself comes from Telangana region.

Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) legislator Harish Rao said the merger would have no impact on Telangana as PRP was already eliminated in the region after Chiranjeevi opposed the demand for a Telangana state.

Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary K. Narayana demanded that all legislators of PRP should resign and seek re-election on the Congress party symbol.

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) alleged that Chiranjeevi sold his party to the Congress. “He has sold his party in wholesale. It is for the personal gains and not for the state’s interests that he merged with Congress,” said TDP legislator D. Narendra.

TDP chief N.Chandrababu Naidu held a tele-conference with senior party leaders to discuss the fallout of the PRP’s merger with the Congress.

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