Antony meets Chiranjeevi

Hyderabad, Jan 31 (PTI) Defence Minister A K Antony metPraja Rajyam Party president K Chiranjeevi here this eveningto invite him for a meeting with Congress president SoniaGandhi, triggering speculation in political circles.

"The Defence Minister met our party president Chiranjeevion behalf of the Congress party to extend an invitation tovisit New Delhi to meet AICC President Sonia Gandhi to furtherstrengthen the relationship (between the two parties) and worktogether to serve the interests of the nation and AndhraPradesh in particular," PRP Political Affairs Committee memberC Ramachandraiah said, reading out a statement at the end ofthe 50-minute meeting.

Chiranjeevi, he said, accepted the invitation.

"We (PRP leaders) will meet and decide the date soon,"the former MP said.

Anonty, however, did not speak to the waitingmediapersons.

Antony, who came to Hyderabad on a private visit, droveto Chiranjeevi''s Jubilee Hills residence in the company ofAndhra Pradesh Congress Committee president D Srinivas.

There was intense speculation if Antony had come come topersuade Chiranjeevi to join the Kiran Kumar Reddy government.

Three slots in the state cabinet have been kept vacant.

Chiranjeevi has, however, been maintaining that his party wasnot in a hurry to join the government. He also made it clearthat PRP would support the Congress government in case it fellshort of numbers "only in public interest."

Ramachandraiah "they discussed the political situation inthe state but nothing was discussed about joining thecabinet".

PRP has 18 MLAs but two of them have joined formerCongress leader Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy''s camp while two othersfrom Telangana have virtually deserted the party on thestatehood issue. PTI DBV

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