PRP-Cong merger may not cause dramatic changes in AP politics

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Hyderabad, Feb 9 (PTI) Except helping the Congress toface the challenge thrown by former MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddyand strengthening its base to some extent in the state, themerger of Praja Rajyam with the grand old party may not causeany dramatic changes in Andhra Pradesh politics, feelpolitical observers.

The immediate outcome of the merger is that it will helpCongress to rein in Jagan who had said the Congress governmentin Andhra Pradesh continues to be in office at his mercy.

"This merger is a positive sign for Congress in a longtime. It is a game of survival. It is for mutual benefit,"Telakapalli Ravi, a political analyst, said.

While Congress needed him to ensure the government''sstability, Chiranjeevi needed an "asylum" as the Praja Rajyamis in dire straits having no sense of direction, he said.

"Chiranjeevi lacks the strategic mind to run the party.

The party was going nowhere," he said.

The actor-turned politician, with his strength of 18 MLAsincluding himself, would provide a relief to the Kiran KumarReddy government which faced threat with about 25 MLAs sidingwith Jagan.

However, two of the 18 Praja Rajyam MLAs, are in the campof Jagan, while one party MLA from Telangana is in support ofseparate statehood demand.

Congress has 155 MLAs in 294-member House and about 25MLAs had attended Jagan''s fast in Delhi where he declared thatthe government is at his mercy. The simple majority is 148.

With the merger, Congress would have another advantage inthe form of transfer of support base of Chiranjeevi''s fans andalso Kapu community, to which he belongs. .

The die-hard fans of Chiranjeevi, who have no political affiliation, may continue to support him irrespective of theparty he is in. However, the merger of PRP and Congressappears to have not gone down well with some leaders ofChiranjeevi''s Kapu community as well.

"With Chiranjeevi entering politics, we thought Kapus canemerge independently in the state politics which have beendominated so far by the Reddys and Kammas. We lost that chancenow," a Kapu leader from Chiranjeevi�s native West Godavaridistrict said.

Praja Rajyam does not have a proper organisationstructure across the state and the amalgamation of the cadredepends on local conditions, Telakapalli Ravi said.

The transfer of political loyalty may not be easy at theground level at various places as there are differencesbetween leaders of Congress and Praja Rajyam.

In Vijayawada, PRP leader V Radhakrishna and the localCongress MLA Malladi Vishnu have serious differences. Atseveral other places too in coastal districts, where PrajaRajyam has a good presence, there are reports of differencesbetween the leaders of PRP and Congress.

The merger may help Telugu Desam too as there is moreclarity now with regard to the state''s political scene. Thechoice for the voters is now either Congress or Telugu Desamand Jagan who is going to launch a party, Ravi said.

Telugu Desam chief N Chandrababu Naidu has often saidCongress came to power in the state in the 2009 elections withChiranjeevi effecting a split in anti-Congress votes.

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