Cine actress and Telangana Rashtra Samithi MP M Vijayashanthi on Thursday joined Congress at a time when the possibility of TRS merging with Congress seemed to have hit a roadblock.
Vijayashanthi, who is not on the best of terms with TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, on Thursday met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi after which the decision of her joining the party was announced.
All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge for Andhra Pradesh Digvijay Singh, who accompanied the MP, told reporters that Vijayashanthi, the Lok Sabha MP from Medak, Andhra Pradesh, had taken the "blessings" of Gandhi.
Her joining Congress came within a week of Parliament passing the bill for creation of separate Telangana state, the main demand of TRS founder K Chandrasekhar Rao. Rao and Vijayashanthi were the only members of the party in the outgoing Lok Sabha.
"I am very happy to inform you that Vijayashanthi, the first actress to raise the issue of Telangana and a consistent fighter for it has decided to join Congress. She has taken the blessings of Sonia Gandhi," Singh told reporters outside 10 Janpath, the residence of the Congress president.
According to Singh, Vijayashanthi had said that her fight was for Telangana and after it is achieved, she would join Congress.
Shanthi also talked to reporters in Telugu after the meeting disapproving of the unwillingness of the TRS chief to merge his party with Congress.
Shanthi has good rapport with the Congress President and her joining the party is being seen as Congress' attempt to build pressure for merger of TRS.
The merger plan appeared to have suffered a setback on Wednesday amid conflicting versions on the issue from both the parties.
While Congress claimed the TRS chief has expressed readiness to merge his party with it, TRS said no such assurance has been given.
"As far as merger of TRS with Congress is concerned, we are very happy that KCR has met Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) and party Vice President Rahul Gandhi and he has indicated merger of TRS with Congress party. The details will be worked out," Digvijay Singh had said.
However, a top leader of TRS had a different take on it.
"Our leadership has never indicated that TRS will merge with Congress. We had met the Prime Minister (Manmohan Singh), the Congress President and the Vice President to thank them for their efforts for passage of Telangana Bill," said a TRS leader on condition of anonymity adding 'a merger is unlikely between the two parties since 90 per cent of TRS leaders are against it".
Image: Cine actress and Telangana Rashtra Samithi MP M Vijayashanthi