Former Union Minister P Shiv Shanker joins Chiru's party

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Hyderabad, Nov 15 (UNI) Veteran Congress leader and former Union Minister P Shiv Shanker today joined Telugu actor turned politician Chiranjeevi's newly launched Praja Rajyam Party(PRP).

Welcoming Shivshankar to the party, Chiranjeevi told reporters that PRP would use his vast experience by including him in the Election Manifesto Committee and making him the head of the party's legal wing.

The moral values cherished by Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi had been given a go-by by the Congress party, with money and muscle power ruling the roost, Mr Shiv Shanker alleged.

Before joining Mr Chirajeevi's party, Mr Shiv Shanker, like another senior Congress leader Margaret Alva, who had resigned as All India Congress Committee General Secretary, alleged that money power had influenced the selection of party candidate for the Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat in 2004.

A confidante of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Mr Shivshankar had served as minister in the cabinets of Ms Gandhi and later former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and P V Narasimha Rao, before occupying the high office of Governor in Kerala.

Ahead of the 2004 elections, Shiv Shanker, who had aspired for the party ticket for the Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat, quit the party.

He strongly criticised Congress President Sonia Gandhi on her ''foreign origin'', expecting to contest the polls on the TDP ticket. But with the TDP also denying him the ticket, he kept away from active politics since then.

His son Dr Vinay Kumar is closely associated with Mr Chiranjeevi's party and is serving as its core committee member.

UNI SM VA LS KN1659

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