Tie up with Chiranjeevi may signal new alignment in AP

Desaraju Surya

Hyderabad, Feb 1 (PTI) Congress moves for tying up withthe Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), headed by actor Chiranjeevi, hasset off signals about a new alignment in Andhra Pradesh aimedat stability for its government and may also have implicationson the Telangana issue.

Defence Minister A K Antony held a meeting withChiranjeevi here yesterday and extended an invitation to himto go to Delhi for a meeting with Congress President SoniaGandhi.

State Congress President D Srinivas, who was alsopresent at that meeting, told reporters today that it wasCongress'' reciprocal gesture of friendliness to him tostrengthen the "working arrangement" between the two parties.

PRP is a strong votary of a united state and is opposedto division in the wake of demand for separate Telangana. Ithas 18 MLAs and could come to the rescue of Congress in caseof a trial of strength in the Assembly.

Congress, which has 155 MLAs in a House of 294, may alsorequire the support of seven-member Muslim Majlis. Jagancommands the open support of 16 Congress MLAs and some more"fence sitters".

Observers wonder whether the Congress, which is fightinga rebellion by late Y S Rajasekhar Reddy''s son Y S JaganmohanReddy, may be forced to adopt a similar line on the SriKrishna Committee''s report on the Telangana issue.

The sixth recommendation of the Committee favoursmaintaining status quo of a united Andhra Pradesh along withsome statutory and Constitutional guarantees for Telanganaregion.

The Congress'' game plan appears to be to hit two birdswith one stone. Using Chiranjeevi as the main weapon, it wantsto hit at rebel leader Y S Jagan, who is emerging as the mainthreat in the Andhra-Rayalaseema regions, and also thecontentious Telangana issue. (More) PTI DBV VSC PAL

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