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Cong turns to Chiranjeevi as Jagan defies party

New Delhi: It looks like the Congress may go for a tie up with Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam in Andhra Pradesh if Jaganmohan Reddy’s loyalists hoist the flag of rebellion and resort to cross-voting in the June 14 Rajya Sabha elections.

The Congress has 156 members in the Assembly while the TDP has 91 and the PRP has 16 MLAs. The Congress can get three Rajya Sabha seats from the state against the Telugu Desam Party’s two.

Chiranjeevi, who is expected to arrive here on Saturday, will hold talks with senior Congress leaders Veerappa Moily and Ahmed Patel before meeting party chief Sonia Gandhi.

Congress is believed to be keen on forging a long term alliance with the actor-turned politician. The party hopes to upstage the TDP and also counter Jagan’s clout by roping in Chiranjeevi. The actor belongs to the Kapu community and may turn out to be a votebank for the Congress party.

Jagan, son of former chief minister YSR, has support of at least 37 MLAs within the Congress. He had gone ahead with his yatra despite instructions from the top leadership to drop the programme.

The party leaders have also asked for a report on whether Jagan’s yatra caused any law and order problem. The yatra was meant to console the families of those who committed suicide following YSR’s death.

Jagan defied the party and went ahead with his ODAR-PU yatra in Telangana on Friday. But the programme was abandoned after his supporters clashed with Telangana supporters at Mah-bu-bad, culminating in police opening fire. The violence left 24 persons injured and Jagan was taken into preventive custody.

The Congress party doesn’t want to take any chances in the Rajya Sabha elections. Chiranjeevi had recently announced that his party would contest the elections to the Upper House.

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