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Chiranjeevi's PRP formally unites with Congress

Source: PTI
March 12, 2012 11:23 IST
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With Andhra Pradesh assembly Speaker Nadendla Manohar making a formal announcement in the House on Monday accepting the merger of Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress, the chapter of the Chiranjeevi-led party has come to an end in the political history of the state.

"Under Para 4 of Schedule X of the Constitution, all 17 members of PRP will be recognised as Congress MLAs with immediate effect," the Speaker announced to the House.

Telugu Megastar Chiranjeevi founded the PRP on August 26, 2008 at temple-town Tirupati with the promise of ushering in a change on the plank of social justice.

The party could not ride to power despite positioning itself as an alternative to Congress and Telugu Desam Party but won only 18 seats with 17 per cent vote share in the 2009 elections. One of the MLAs subsequently switched over to the YSR Congress of Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.

It drew a blank in the Lok Sabha polls the same year.

PRP was plagued by a leadership crisis since its start as majority of the leaders who joined it from other parties quit, unable to adjust to the "filmy style" of functioning of Chiranjeevi and his brother-in-law Allu Aravind.

In February 2011, the Congress came with the offer of a merger with PRP and Chiranjeevi lost no time in accepting it.

In June last year, the Election Commission of India approved the merger of PRP with Congress and the formalities between the two parties were completed in August.

Two legislators of PRP were inducted into the state Cabinet in January as part of merger deal.

However, the PRP continued to remain a separate group in the assembly as some "technical" procedures were not completed.

Late last month, the Congress legislature party finally approved the merger and communicated its decision to the Speaker.

On Thursday, leaders of both parties handed over letters to the Speaker seeking to accept the merger. Accordingly, the Speaker made the formal announcement this morning.

Now, as per the promise made by the Congress during the merger, Chiranjeevi has to be nominated to Rajya Sabha in the biennial elections on March 30. If that doesn't happen by any chance, Chiranjeevi will become a "backbencher" in the assembly as he is a first-time MLA (from Tirupati).

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